6 May 2022.
The centre has asked whether any environmental impact study has been carried out before giving environmental clearance for a five-star hotel at the Jog Development Projects
Earlier, a proposal was submitted by Karnataka to seek diversions of 0.8536 hectares of forest land in the Nadavada Talakalale village, Sagar Taluk. The proposal was submitted to build a five-star hotel.
Who has sought additional clarifications?
- The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change’s (MoEF&CC) Regional Empowered Committee (REC) sought details and clarifications regarding the project and has pointed out that this proposed project is amidst the Western Ghats fragile ecosystem.
- MoEF&CC enquired about any study that has been conducted regarding the environmental impact of the project and whether any precautionary measures have been developed.
- The government of Karnataka was looking to demolish the existing PWD guest house that was already in this area to build the hotel.
- The MoEF & CC also asked whether approval was taken by the state government under Forest Conservation Act 1980 to construct the existing structure.
- The Living Earth Foundation (LEAF), an environmental research and advocacy organisation that is based in Bengaluru had filed objections regarding the developmental projects and the MoEF&CC also enquired about whether the objections have been clarified or not.
Other projects were to be constructed in this area:
- Along with the 5-star hotel view decks, retail outlets, landscape work, a grand entrance, a ropeway, and a dedicated transit hub have been planned to be constructed to transform the Jog Falls as a tourist destination.
To develop this area into a tourist attraction significant amount of construction would need to be done on the forest land within the Sharavati Valley Lion Tailed Macaque Sanctuary’s Eco-Sensitive Zone. The LEAF has stated that the constructions in this zone will cause major environmental impacts which will affect the flora and fauna of this area. Also, after construction, the increase in footfalls in this area will bring rise to additional challenges such:
- increase in dry and wet waste
- water consumption
- additional vehicular traffic and this will cause emission
- The area will be receiving artificial light due to the vehicles which will be harmful to the flora and fauna of the area
LEAF also argues that no study has been conducted to gauge the environmental impacts of the developmental project and no plans have been developed to lessen the impacts.