Union Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh on Monday said Shivalik Hills will be notified as country’s first inter-state biosphere reserve with the setting up of a biodiversity corridor there to protect its natural habitat, flora and fauna.

“This will be the first inter-state biosphere reserve so far...as it will involve several states like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand,” Mr. Ramesh told reporters here on Monday.

Biosphere Reserve is notified to protect the larger area of natural habitat, flora and fauna and human communities.

This move follows a proposal from Punjab, seeking declaration of Shivalik ranges as biodiversity corridor to preserve and protect its ecosystem, he added.

He said the Shivalik had cultural and geological importance and that the area had been damaged by unregulated mining of sand and stone.

“We all know damage to Shivalik ...(because of) unregulated mining of sand and stones,” said Mr. Ramesh who was here to inagurate sixth National meet on State Biodiversity Boards.

Maintaining that there would not be a complete ban on carrying out economic activity (sand or stone mining) after the notification, Mr. Ramesh said the economic activity being carried out in that area would be on sustainable basis under Environment Protection Act.

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