NEW DELHI: With four states yet to submit reports demarcating ecologically sensitive areas (ESA) falling under Western Ghats, the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests (MoEF) may extend its September 9 deadline to issue final notification on demarcation of ESAs in six states.
Kerala and Goa have submitted the reports while Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra are yet to do so despite repeated reminders from the ministry.
The MoEF is bound to issue a final notification by September 9, about 18 months from the issuance of draft notification in March, 2014 but a senior ministry official said that the ministry can extend the deadline so as to receive the feedback from all the states. “We are hopeful that by September 9, the remaining four states would also make their submission and in case some are still left then there is a provision to extend the deadline. The ministry may decide to do it, keeping in mind the need to have views of (all)states,” said the official.
Kerala had in July submitted the final report demarcating ESA falling in Western Ghats. The report prepared by a Committee headed by Kerala State Biodiversity Board chairman Oommen V Oommen had reduced the number of villages falling in ESAs from 123 to 119.
Earlier, the MoEF had set April 15 as deadline for states to submit the ESAs but failed to hear from any and so had extended the deadline to June 15 before extending it to June 30.