Western Ghats to be protected, says government

Published: 12th August 2016 05:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2016 05:21 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Anil Madhav Dave has said that the Union government would be holding the widest possible consultation with MPs and MLAs to find the best possible way to protect the Western Ghats.

He was speaking after chairing a meeting with MPs from Western Ghats region here on Thursday. Dave said that the draft notification is likely to be finalised within six months.

Calling for maintaining a balance between ecology and development, the minister said that the “door is open for all noble ideas”.

He also said that villagers and tribals living in the region must have access to infrastructure – roads, power and drinking water. He emphasised that different states have problems of a different nature and have to be addressed as such.

“The minister has asked us to write down all our concerns and submit them to the ministry. He has promised to look into them,’’ said an MP who attended the meeting.

According to him, MPs from the Western Ghat states have apprehension about the Kasturirangan commission report. He said that the ministry would be holding meetings in all the states concerned to address the concerns.

The ministry had published a draft notification for declaring the Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) of Western Ghats, on September 4, 2015, with the objective to conserve and protect the unique biodiversity of Western Ghats.

MPs from Western Ghats region (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Gujarat and Kerala) and senior officers of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change participated in the meeting. The MPs who attended the meeting included Sharad Pawar, Shashi Tharoor, Tiruchi Siva, K S Prasad, Dr A Sampath, K Soma Prasad, Vinayak Bhaurau Raut, and P K Shrimati Teacher.

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