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The Cochin Natural History Society is a non-profit making, non-political charitable institution registered under the Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955. This is a society of amateur naturalists who live in harmony with nature and seek to protect and to preserve the biodiversity and healthy natural environment. The mandate of the society is to undertake studies and documentation of biodiversity around us and to draw attention to the aesthetic, economic, scientific and conservation aspects.The society also intends to provide a platform to those who are concerned to come together and share, enlarge and correct our knowledge about Nature and its magnificence. Any person, who has a love, interest and commitment towards conservation of our biodiversity and natural history may become a member of the society*.

"You can know the names of a bird in all languages of the world,but when you are finished ,
You will know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird.....
So let`s look at the bird and see what it`s doing --that`s what counts.
I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."

-Nobel Laureate Richard P Feynman(1918-1988)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Karnataka opposes World Heritage tag for Western Ghats

NEW DELHI: From rock carvings in Mongolia to the Sangha forests of Congo, from ancient German beech woods to the oases of the United Arab Emirates, the nations of the world are vying this week to have their historical and natural wonders honoured with the prestigious Unesco World Heritage site tag.

Karnataka, on the other hand, has been mounting a public, sudden, last-minute campaign opposing that tag for 10 sites in the Western Ghats, an acknowledged hotspot of biodiversity.

Warning that India risks “international embarrassment” due to Karnataka's stance, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has urged the State government to withdraw its objections.

On Sunday, June 19, members of the World Heritage Committee began their 10-day meeting in Paris to decide which of the 42 nominations will make it to the list of 900 cultural and natural treasures. While India started the process of getting the Western Ghats nominated in August 2005, the Karnataka government has chosen to voice its opposition only in this final week before the Unesco committee meets.

Karnataka says it is fully capable of protecting the Ghats on its own, and claims that forest-dwellers will suffer if the World Heritage tag prevents development work from being undertaken there. Environmentalists have been sceptical of the State's position, accusing the government of bowing to vested interests who want to exploit the natural resources of the region in the guise of “development work.”

In a letter to Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Monday, Mr. Ramesh said the State government was “needlessly alarmist” and warned that its “hasty action” was likely to lead to an “international embarrassment” for India. He pointed out that Karnataka — along with Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Maharashtra, over which the Ghats are spread — had been actively involved through the entire process.

“When the 39 sites were initially identified, the State governments were fully in the picture. When the sites were submitted to Unesco, the State governments were again kept fully informed.

“Hence, I am completely at a loss to understand why all of a sudden only the Karnataka government is expressing objections and that too in a language that is unbecoming of a responsible government,” he added.

None of the other States has expressed any concern. Mr. Ramesh rubbished the fear that tribal populations and other forest communities would be displaced by the tag.

The report published in The Hindu dated 22-6-2011

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