ESA tag on 57,000 sq km of Western Ghats in new draft notification

The ministry prepared its notification after coming under fire from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for not finalising the ESA in the region.

Published: 16th October 2018 05:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th October 2018 05:56 AM   |  A+A-

The Western Ghats (Photo | File/EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Nearly 57,000 sq km of the Western Ghats should be declared as Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA), the Union environment ministry has said in a new draft notification. This would mean projects like mining, quarrying, and thermal power plants must be banned in the region, which spans six states.

ALSO READ: Ministry watered down Gadgil panel report that ensured protection of Western Ghats: Experts

The ministry prepared its notification after coming under fire from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for not finalising the ESA in the region. The NGT, in a September-4 order, restricted six states from giving environmental clearance for activities that could harm eco-sensitive areas, saying the region was under serious stress. It took the matter into cognizance after the deadly Kerala floods.The ministry has sought public comments on its draft notification for 60 days, after which the ESA will be finalised.

ENVIRONMENT experts say that the ministry has watered down Gadgil panel report that ensured protection of the Western Ghats. UNESCO has included certain identified parts of Western Ghats in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List as it is home to rich endemic biodiversity. In 2010, the UPA government began the process of declaring ESAs by constituting the Madhav Gadgil committee. The report was junked after protest from all states, especially Kerala, saying that it hampered development and large habitations.

Subsequently, a high-level working group under former ISRO chairman K Kasturirangan gave a report in 2013 recommending 37 per cent (60,000 hectares) of the Western Ghats as ecologically sensitive areas. However, the states were still not satisfied. In places identified as ESAs, projects such as mining, quarrying, sand mining, thermal power plants are not allowed. Environmental activist Himanshu Thakkar says, “If we want to protect the fragile Western Ghats and people staying therein, we need to seriously implement Gadgil committee recommendations... This notification is for only 37 per cent of the area.”

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments(2)

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

  • Shailesh Patel

    It is very effective amendment to preserve western ghat. now including Dharmapur and Kaprada is useful for future
    6 months ago reply
  • Nura

    Without going into pros and cons of Ministry's notification on ESA of Western Ghats
    7 months ago reply
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp