PANAJI: Union Environment Ministry will take decision on reports prepared by the Madhav Gadgil and Kasturirangan panels on the Western Ghat at a meeting in New Delhi on June 4, the new Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said today.
The BJP leader, who was here to participate in an event, said that the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) represented by him will also ensure speedy resumption of iron ore mining activity in Goa, which has been on hold following a Supreme Court order.
"We will take the decision on these reports in the meeting. I would like to assure people that environment will be protected and also Goa's development would not be stopped," Javadekar said.
He said that Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and officials of his government will participate in the meeting apart from an MoEF team.
The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), also known as the Gadgil Commission, had submitted the report to the Centre on August 31, 2011. A panel headed by K Kasturirangan, a noted space scientist, was set up by MoEF to study the Gadgil Committee report on the Western Ghats.
The Gadgil panel had faced opposition from states for recommending that almost three-fourth of the hills, including plantations, cultivated lands and large habitations, in the Ghats be turned into a restricted development zone with an over-arching authority to regulate the region superseding the elected authorities' role.
The Kasturirangan panel has sought to balance the two concerns of development and environment protection, by watering down the environmental regulation regime proposed by the Gadgil report in 2012.
Responding to a question, Javadekar said that Modi-led government will always be a "PM-CM" team.
"We have said that it will be the PM-CM team and it is not about only BJP CMs but about all CMs, so concerns of the states will definitely be addressed in all spheres," he said. "We will ensure through our actions, policies and programs that environment protection and growth, both can go hand in hand," Javadekar said.
He said that resumption of mining was also a crucial issue which would be solved on priority. "Goa mining issue is very important because we have been fighting against illegal mining. After the SC order allowing 20 MT, we will have to see how fast we can implement it. We will have to taken into confidence various things while implementing it," the minister said.
The Supreme Court had last month allowed an annual cap of 20 million tonnes of iron ore to be extracted in Goa which was banned by it earlier.