Illegal constructions at Kas under scanner

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Rajesh Sachdev

Jul 17, 2011, 8:35:06 AM7/17/11
to wild mumbai, Mumbainaturalists, wildflowerindia, efloraindia

SATARA: District collector N Ramaswami has asked revenue officials to immediately conduct a survey of the Kas plateau area for identifying illegal constructions. The officials have been told to send notices to owners through the gram panchayat.

Since the plateau is located at a height of more than one thousand meters above the sea level, no developmental construction is allowed. The district administration has also sought information on how many properties are used for residential purpose on a regular basis. This development is viewed as a step towards recognizing Kas plateau as a no-development zone.

Ramaswami has sought a report on the constructed properties and instructed the officials to set up a check post of forest and police departments. Preparation of a development plan from town planning department is also on cards.

These decisions were taken at a special meeting held on Tuesday by the district collector with other government departments and villagers in the surrounding areas. The meeting was attended by resident deputy collector Sonappa Yamgar, sub-divisional officer Ramdas Jagtap, Satara tehsildar Subhash Bhagde, Jawli tehsildar N N Kumbhare, assistant deputy forest conservator M M Pawar and assistant director of town planning Sunil Sudamate.

The Ministry of Environment & Forests has prepared a nomination dossier for the inscription of 39 sites in the Western Ghats on the World Heritage list. Of the 39 sites, four, including the Kas plateau, are in the Sahyadri (Maharashtra) range. Better connectivity to the plateau has resulted into huge number of visitors flocking the plateau, careless handling of plants and flowers and littering which is a serious threat to the biodiversity.

State forest minister Patangrao Kadam recently made an announcement toprovide Rs 8 crore for conservation and protection of the Kas plateau. The flowers, with variety of colours grow during the monsoon, are a major attraction of the plateau that attracts tourists from places like Mumbai and Kolhapur.

With the increasing number of visitors every year, the district administration has undertaken some initiatives like gathering data of constructions at the plateau, preparing modified tourism plan with help from the state town planning department and setting up check posts of forest department among others. Besides providing parking facilities with support of local villagers, the district collector has also sought suggestion to classify the Kas plateau either as green or yellow zone. Ramaswami has asked to prepare a report on these issues pertaining to Kas plateau. The district administration has also decided to push for Rs 5 crore funding for Kas plateau development during the cabinet meet scheduled to discuss tourism development at Kas.

Rajesh Sachdev

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