Bengaluru: The Congress government, headed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, which would complete two years in office next month, is expected to expand the Cabinet after consultations with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Mr. Siddaramaiah, who was in Delhi to attend a conference of Chief Ministers of States and Chief Justices of High Courts on Sunday, told presspersons that the decision on the Cabinet expansion and reshuffle would be taken after consultations with Ms. Gandhi.
The Chief Minister is expected to meet her on Monday. However, he declined to fix deadlines on the Cabinet expansion or reshuffle.
Decision on Western Ghats
Dismissing the allegations that the Karnataka government was opposing the Kasturirangan committee report on Western Ghats under the pressure from the mining lobby, Siddaramaiah said that his government would not take any decision in a hurry.
“The State government will not take any decision, which harms the ecology of the State. The environmentalists need not worry about it”, he told reporters.
Siddaramaiah said his government was not under the pressure from sand mafia or quarrying lobby to oppose the report. Before finalising the state response, the government would keep in mind the suggestions made by environmentalists, he said.
The Kasturirangan Panel had recommended a ban on development activities in 60,000 sq km ecologically-sensitive area spread over six states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The report declared 1,580 villages in and around Western Ghats in Karnataka as ecologically sensitive areas, but the State Cabinet has decided to include only 850 villages by dropping rest.
Environmentalists have alleged that the government was dropping a number of villages under the pressure from the mining lobby. Instead of explaining about the benefits of the report, the State government was planning to drop many villages from the category of sensitive areas they alleged.
On setting up IIT in Karnataka, Siddaramaiah said that soon the State government would recommend some of the possible places to the Ministry of Human Resources Development and set up the institute in consultation with the Centre.