Bangalore: An expert panel has recommended framing a land use policy for “Malenadu” of Karnataka keeping in view the fragile ecosystem of Western Ghats that comes under the region, to guide all development programmes there.
Developmental projects to be taken up in the Malenadu region, which includes the districts such as Shimoga, Chikamagalur, Hassan and Uttara Kannada, should be ecologically sustainable and socially feasible in view of the Western Ghats, it said.
Government-appointed Western Ghats Task Force submitted some of its major recommendations which it said would help in ensuring integrated and sustainable development of Malenadu region, to the chief minister B S Yeddyurappa today.
The Task Force’s chairman Anant Hegde Ashisar said the recommendations were based on the deliberations of a state-level conference of people from all walks of life held recently at Sagara in Shimoga district.
It said the sectors like horticulture,dairy and eco-tourism should be recognised as the prime developmental programmes for the region and the government should come out with a comprehensive policy and package which would provide training for locals, initial capital support with subsidy for new entrepreneurs and market opportunities, among others.
“Government should come out with an integrated and wide-scale programme on forest protection, afforestation and watershed works with active participation of local communities”, Ashisar said.
The catchment areas of all major and perennial rivers in the state (those which fall in the Western Ghats region) should be protected and more conservation programmes taken up in order to ensure water security, it recommended.
The Task Force pushed for taking up a special programme to provide primary education in remote areas, hamlets and tribal pockets in Western Ghats region, promotion of alternative energy modes like solar light and water heating systems and biogas plants, as well as medicinal plant cultivation.
It also called for a comprehensive inland fishery promotion policy in Malenadu and participatory conservation modes.
Noting that non-timber forest products of the Malenadu forest offer huge livelihood opportunities for the local communities, the panel recommended an effective and scientific policy which would ensure transparent tender systems, sustainable harvesting and provide benefits to them in an equitable manner.