Implementation of Kasturirangan report

Union Minister for Environment M. Veerappa Moily on Thursday refused to set a time limit for issuing a fresh notification for the implementation of the K. Kasturirangan report on the conservation of the Western Ghats.

The Union government had earlier directed the six State governments concerned to not allow activities such as mining and quarrying in the ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs). Industries in the ‘red category’ should also not be allowed, the States were told.

“How can I give a timeline. We need to seriously examine the matter. They (the States) have their own expert committees. We know the emergency and the seriousness of the thing. Decisions cannot be taken immediately,” Mr. Moily told reporters who asked about Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s comments that the Centre would issue a notification in two days.

Union Environment Secretary R. Rajagopalan made it clear that the government was ‘not reviewing’ regulatory activities.

He said the main objections from the States were about demarcation and about people living in those areas. The committee’s report was implemented during the tenure of Mr. Moily’s predecessor Jayanthi Natarajan.

The 1600-km Western Ghats was spread over Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.

Mr. Moily said the six States had formed their expert committees to examine the report. Senior officials from Kerala, including the Chairman of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board and the State Forest Secretary had reached New Delhi for talks with Mr. Moily. The implementation of the report had generated much political heat in Kerala. — PTI

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