The MoEF was asked to submit final view on matter

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) will take a look at the Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats on Monday even as electioneering has picked up momentum on the green issue in many key constituencies of the State.

During its last sitting on February 13, the NGT Bench consisting of its chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar and four others had asked the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest to file an affidavit regarding its view on the matter.

The Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Ministry had submitted that the “Minister of MoEF has written to all the concerned Chief Ministers to submit their views in relation to identification of eco-sensitive region of the Western Ghats to the Ministry by February 16, 2014.”

The Ministry had also stated that it will take a ‘final view on the matter’ after obtaining the submissions from the ghat States.

The NGT had asked the Environment and Forest ministry to file an affidavit on March 24 regarding the report .

The bench said that it was “granting final opportunity to the ministry to take a final view on the matter”.

Meanwhile, the Kerala government will file an affidavit before the NGT stating that it had not permitted quarries in 123 villages identified by the Kasturirangan committee as Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA).

This follows a submission from the Goa Foundation and other appellants including the River Research Centre, Kerala, that the government of Kerala had issued an office memorandum permitting mining activities without obtaining the environmental clearance.

They further pointed out that the order was in conflict with the orders of the Supreme Court of India as well as the tribunal.

The office memorandum in question was issued by the State Industries Department in January this year.

In its affidavit, the State government will further state that the orders issued by the Industries Department did not cover the ecologically sensitive villages. The order, which had no application in the ecologically sensitive villages, was issued to meet the public demand of construction materials. The government will also state before the NGT that no new quarries would be permitted in the ESAs. It would also highlight its orders stating that environment clearance should be obtained for all the quarries as directed by the Supreme Court, sources said.