DHARMASTHALA: Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh insisted that Kudremukh National Park (KNP) should be declared as Tiger Reserve. This comes in wake of opposition to the idea by Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, who during the campaign for Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha byelection, had said the government would cancel the Tiger Reserve status enjoyed by Bhadra Tiger Reserve, besides dropping the proposal to get KNP declared a Tiger Reserve.

On the sidelines of tri-decennial celebrations of Sri Kshetra Dharmastala Rural Development Programme here on Friday, the minister said that the state government should take necessary steps to convert Kudremukh into tiger reserve. “I had written a letter to then chief minister BS Yeddyurappa with suggestions to facilitate conversion of KNP into tiger reserve. I will discuss it Sadananda Gowda in Bangalore on June 23,” he added.

Out of 1,400 tribal families, who are residing in Kudremukh, 100 have already received the compensation and shifted from the forest, he said. “Applications of 600 families, who are willing to shift from Kudremukh, are pending before the state government for about 10 years. They are ready to come out of the forest, but the government has not taken initiative to rehabilitate them property, Ramesh said adding that families will be given a minimum compensation of Rs 10 lakh.

“We are receiving information that left wing extremist activities are taking place in the area. Meanwhile, there is opposition from the local political parties too. It is a matter of urgency that families should be relocated and compensated adequately. Then only we will be able to check naxal activities,” Ramesh said.

Asserting that no families will be evicted forcibly from forests, Ramesh said, “All facilities will be provided to tribals who do not want to come out of forest.” Declaring KNP as Tiger Reserve does not include Bhadra – Kudremukh corridor project. “The union government has no proposal to implement such a corridor project as part of the announcement of Tiger Reserve,” he added.

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