Green tag to keep 40% W Ghats pristine
Mumbai: Almost 40% of the Western Ghats or 60,000 sq km of the green belt that runs across six states is set to become an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA), a tag that will keep mining, quarrying, thermal power plants or any polluting industries out of the zone.
But hydro-electricity projects will be allowed there though consent from gram sabhas will have to be taken.
The decision for the new tag is taken following recommendations from the Dr K Kasturirangan Committee that was set up to review the Madhav Gadgil Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel Report, which had suggested that the entire Western Ghats be declared an ESA for its bio-diversity. But after a review, the Kasturirangan Committee divided the Western Ghats into natural (no development) and cultural (agriculture, plantations etc) landscapes. It said development activities can be carried out in nearly 60% of the Ghats.
Happy that the Centre has accepted the new report, Sunita Narain of the Dr K Kasturirangan High Level Working Group, said, “It’s time we moved ahead.” The group had suggested that all mines in the ESA be phased out over five years and constructions on areas of 2lakh sq-m and above be banned.
Source:::: The Times of India, 17-10-2013, p.10, http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseHref=TOIM/2013/10/17&PageLabel=10&EntityId=Ar01002&ViewMode=HTML