Western Ghats World heritage site

The Western Ghats, known for its evergreen tropical forests and rich biodiversity, is all set to become a world heritage site.

“By 2010, we are confident of getting world heritage site status for the Western Ghats,” said VB Mathur, dean of the Wildlife Institute of India, which has prepared a nomination dossier of 39 natural sites from states like Karnataka, Kerala, and Maharashtra under a single cluster of the Western Ghats.

India has already submitted the dossier to Unesco, which is the nodal agency for declaring heritage sites. A team of Unesco would travel to India next year to give its seal of approval in this regard.

The sites from Karnataka include Agumbe Reserve Forest, Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, Someshwara Reserved Forest, Kudremukh National Park, Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, Padinalknad Reserve Forest, Kerti Reserve Forest and Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, all major tourist attractions.

According to the guidelines of the World Heritage Convention, of which India is a signatory, each country has to prepare a tentative list of sites that it proposes to nominate as world heritage sites, Mathur said.

Surveys by WII officials with the help of a Bangalore-based agency Atree were conducted to find sites in the 150,000 sq km Western Ghats.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had assigned the responsibility of preparing nomination dossiers for Western Ghats to WII. “We submitted our nomination dossier to HRD Ministry which in turn submitted to UNESCO,” said Mathur.

There are six natural heritage sites in India which include Valley of Flowers and Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Kaziranga National Park, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Sunderban and Keoladeo National Park.

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