NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has extended by 15 days the June 15 deadline for all six Western Ghat states to send report on physical demarcation of Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs). If the deadline were not adhered to, the Kasturirangan Committee Report will be treated as the final one.
“The states are expected to submit their reply by June 30 after which the ministry will take a call on the issue,” Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Prakash Javadekar, said.
Initially, the MoEF had set April 15 as the deadline. Since the ministry did not hear the side of states, it extended the deadline to June 15. The June 30 deadline comes as the states except for Kerala have failed to submit the reports despite repeated reminders.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had restricted the MoEF from granting environmental clearance for permitting activities which would have an adverse impact on the eco-sensitive areas in February and asked it to expeditiously demarcate the ESAs in Gujarat, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala. While Kerala had submitted its report, remaining states failed to do so.
The restriction by the Tribunal means projects in five categories -- mining, quarrying, sand mining, thermal power plants and building and construction of 20,000 square metre area or above, township and area development projects with an area of 50 hectare or above or red category industries-- will not get environmental clearance.
The erstwhile UPA Government had in October 2013 issued a notification, giving in-principle approval for the implementation the Kasturirangan Committee report.
The MoEF had also issued a notification declaring ESAs in the Western Ghats in March, 2014 based on the Kasturirangan Report.