What’s the reason behind Karnataka’s opposition to the centre’s draft?
The latest draft notification by the Union Environment Ministry on ecologically sensitive areas in the Western Ghats is facing stiff opposition in Karnataka. Can you tell me what it says and what Karnataka’s position is?
There is stiff opposition to the latest draft notification by the Union Environment Ministry on Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs) in the Western Ghats.
The MoEF&CC, which is the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, released a draft notification on July 6, demarcating large areas of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Maharashtra as eco-sensitive areas. With 20,668 square kilometers, Karnataka has the highest share of notified areas in the Western Ghats.
The Malnad region, located on the slopes of the Western Ghats in Karnataka, will have a meeting with the state’s Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on July 18 in opposition to the draft notification for the ESA.
According to the Kasturirangan committee’s report from 2013, 37% of the Western Ghats, covering 59,940 sq km, should be classified as an ESA. A number of drafts were introduced based on this, which were subsequently rejected by surrounding states, including Karnataka.
The draft notification designates 46,832 sq km in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, and Tamil Nadu as ESA in the Western Ghats. The state of Kerala is excluded from the draft notification, and it has already completed the process of demarcating ESA by physical verification. In contrast to the 13,108 square kilometers recommended by the K Kasturirangan panel in 2013, the ESA proposed by the Kerala state government is spread over 9,993.7 square kilometers.
There are 20,668 square kilometers in Karnataka, 1,461 square kilometers in Goa, 17,340 square kilometers in Maharashtra, 6,914 square kilometers in Tamil Nadu, and 449 square kilometers in Gujarat. The notification specifies that the concerned state governments are responsible for monitoring and enforcing its provisions.
ESA will be free of mining, quarrying, and sand mining, according to the draft notification. Within five years of the date, the final notification is issued, or upon expiration of the existing mining lease, all existing mines will be phased out. A new thermal power plant cannot be built in the sensitive area, nor can existing plants be expanded, and all new ‘Red’ category industries are forbidden. Activities with a Pollution Index score of 60 and above, such as petrochemical manufacturing and coal liquefaction, fall into this category. A prohibition will also apply to the construction of new townships and area development projects.
As long as a notification of an Environmental Impact Assessment is obtained, all existing health care establishments and hydropower projects will be included in the ESA.
In addition, ‘Orange’ category industries with pollution index scores of 41-59, such as jute processing, and ‘White’ category industries that are considered non-polluting, such as chalk making, will also be allowed if strict environmental regulations are followed.
Along with the state governments of the Western Ghats region, the Environment Ministry will establish a Decision Support and Monitoring Centre. As a result, a regular assessment and report on the ecology of Western Ghats will be provided, as well as a decision support facility to help implement the notification’s provisions.
Post-clearance monitoring of projects and activities allowed in the ESA will be carried out by the relevant state government, the State Pollution Control Board, and the Ministry’s regional office. Environmental clearances or forest clearances granted to projects in Eco-sensitive areas will be monitored by the concerned regional office of the Union Environment Ministry at least once a year.
Each year, the state governments will prepare a ‘State of Health Report’ for the Western Ghats region within their jurisdiction and provide information on the steps they have taken to monitor and enforce the notification.
The panel, formed in 2012, had the mandate to take a holistic view of the issue and promote synergy between the goals of protecting the environment and biodiversity and continuing the requirements and aspirations of the indigenous and local people. In order to prevent further degradation of the fragile ecology of the Ghats, the high-level working group suggested future steps.
.A study of the impact of infrastructural projects on the forest and wildlife is also recommended before permission is granted.
Since 2014, the Union has issued several draft notifications to the Karnataka government to finalize the eco-sensitive region in the Western Ghats, but the state government has rejected their implementation.
In December last year, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai informed the Centre that the state disagreed with the Kasturirangan committee’s report on the Western Ghats. As a result of declaring the Western Ghats as a protected area, Bommai said that the livelihoods of the people living in the region would be adversely affected. The state government’s decision is considered disastrous by environmental experts for the Western Ghats’ biodiversity.
First monkeypox case in India
The first case of monkeypox in India was confirmed in Kerala on July 14. How can it be handled, and what are its symptoms?
In India, monkeypox was confirmed for the first time on July 14, after a person returning from abroad developed symptoms.
A person who had come back from the United Arab Emirates three days ago and had come into contact with another confirmed case in the UAE was diagnosed with the infection, according to Kerala Health Minister Veena George. Monkeypox was confirmed by the National Institute of Virology in Pune on Thursday, according to the minister.
According to the World Health Organization, monkeypox should not be confused with chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis, and medication-associated allergies.
The symptoms of monkeypox usually last two to four weeks and are self-limiting. For monkeypox, the incubation period (time between infection and symptoms) is usually 7-14 days, but it can range from 5-21 days. “1-2 days before the rash until all the scabs fall off/get subsided” is the period of communicability according to the Health Ministry.
During the course of the disease, there are four phases. It is characterized by fever, headache, and swelling of the lymph nodes during the first invasion period, which lasts 0-5 days. As one of the characteristics of monkeypox, swelling of the lymph nodes is not seen in other rash-causing diseases such as measles and chickenpox.
It usually takes two days for skin eruptions to appear after a fever. It is more common for the rash to appear on the face, as is evident in 95 percent of cases. Seventy-five percent of the time, it is found on the palms and soles of the feet. Seventy percent of the cases involve the oral mucous membrane. Besides the conjunctiva, the cornea of the eye and the genital area can also be affected.
There are similarities between monkeypox and smallpox in terms of symptoms, but monkeypox has less clinical severity. Based on the CDC’s monkeypox overview, the infection was first discovered in 1958 following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in monkey colonies for research – hence the name ‘monkeypox.’
It takes between 2 and 4 weeks for the skin eruption stage to begin, during which the lesions harden and become painful, fill up with clear fluid, then pus, and then develop scabs or crusts.
According to the Union Ministry of Health, patients should watch for pain in the eye or blurry vision, shortness of breath, and decreased urine output.
As of yet, monkeypox does not have a proven treatment. Supportive treatment is recommended by the WHO depending on the symptoms. Infected individuals should isolate themselves as soon as possible.
A simple antiseptic should be used on skin rashes to clean them, and a light dressing should be applied in case of extensive lesions, according to Ministry of Health guidelines. Gargle with warm saline solution if you have an oral ulcer
Using available clinical remedies, monkeypox can be managed efficiently with a well-understood condition. “We urge individuals not to panic and, most importantly, not confuse monkeypox with another viral infection,” said Dr. Hemlata Arora, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, and Infectious Diseases, Nanavati Hospital.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma