Submitted by alvin on Mon, 2016-11-14 12:21 Bengaluru: In less than a year from being declared as conservation reserve, Kappathagudda forests in Gadag district has now officially been stripped off its once-celebrated status by the State government. The move has jolted wildlife lovers whose effort to protect Kappathagudda forests from the mining giants has failed miserably. The region was accorded Conservation reserve status in December 19, 2015 under Section 36 ‘A’ of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 by the state government. The notification signed by SP Patil, Under Secretary, Forests, Ecology and Environment said “By reason of its ecological fauna, flora and geomorphologic importance and purpose of protecting, propagating and developing wildlife there in or its environment, the region will be declared as protected.” Accordingly, 17, 872.248 hectares spread across Gadag, Mundargi and Sirahatti taluks of Gadag district was declared as a conservation reserve. But a notification dated November 4, 2016 states that it is withdrawing Kappathagudda forests as the conservation reserve claiming that it is not a contagious patch to any national park or a wildlife sanctuary! The notification apparently put the blame on rising public objections for declaring it a sanctuary or conservation reserve. “Kappathagudda was declared a conservation reserve without complying with mandatory provisions of prior public consultation and following process of public hearing. Kappthagudda is neither adjacent to any National Park nor a sanctuary nor is a part of a link corridor to one protected area to another,” said the notification issued on November 4. Citing the State Wildlife Board meeting dated 8 August, 2016, which decided to withdraw the notification, the department has said that it has been resolved to withdraw the notification declaring Kapathagudda, a conservation reserve. Though there was a lot of pressure on the department to declare Kappathagudda as a conservation reserve, the same could not be done owing to several reasons, predominantly mining lobby. The region being rich in mineral resources, there was a severe mining lobby to withdraw the protected status to it. There were also attempts in the 2011 and 2012 to declare this place as a sanctuary, however the effort received a severe setback then too, apparently due to mining lobby. After a lot of dilly dallying, Kappathagudda – in December 2015 – was declared a conservation reserve as it faced serious threat from illegal mining and frequent fires. Now, it’s a complete U-turn, for reasons best known to government.