NEW DELHI:Expressing concern over environmental issues in Ooty and the Nilgiris hills in Tamil Nadu, a parliamentary standing committee has recommended steps such as banning plastic bags, restricting air horns in automobiles, banning old vehicles from plying and development of mass rapid transit system in the region.
The parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, environment and forests headed by Congress MP Ashwani Kumar also urged the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) headed by Prakash Javadekar to give funds to Tamil Nadu to rejuvenate all the lakes including the one at Ooty under the National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems.
The panel noted the steps taken by the local administration to control pollution in Ooty Lake and effects thereof but felt that more needed to be done.
“Ooty Lake is a major tourist attraction, it is imperative that constant watch is kept on the ecological health of the lake,” said the committee in its report which was tabled in Parliament today.
The panel also said the district collector of the Nilgiris should explore the viability of banning plastic bags and withdrawing old and polluting government vehicles from the roads as they were a major source of pollution in Ooty.
It also said that to mitigate vehicular pollution, a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) should be developed and air horns in automobiles should be banned to contain the noise pollution.
“A lot of construction material is taken to Ooty everyday from the neighbouring cities which was a major contributor to pollution. Transportation of construction and building materials may be regulated and people should be encouraged to build homes with locally available wood products,” the committee said.
The panel also asked the Union government to ensure that the three-phase relocation programme of people living inside the core Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) was implemented within the stipulated time.
MTR is located at the tri-junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerela. It also formed part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve.
The panel, while noting the need of wild animal corridors, especially elephant corridors, felt that not only in the forest but also on private land near the forest area could be acquired.
“Government should encourage people to voluntary donate private land falling in the corridor. The panel also feels that the Central Government may extend necessary financial assistance to the State Government for this purpose. The efficacy of such corridor needs to be monitored constantly,” the panel said in its report.