The move by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to set up the Tamil Nadu Authority for Preservation of Eco-Sensitive and Heritage Areas has been welcomed by the Nilgiri Documentation Centre (NDC).
Describing the move as timely, the Director, NDC, Dharmalingam Venugopal, said in a press note issued at Kotagiri on Saturday, that it should be hailed in the same manner as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s declaration to protect rivers and mountains of the country on priority basis.
Adverting to the fact that it will function under the direct supervision of the Chief Minister, he said that Ms.Jayalalithaa, who has never failed to respond to the call of the ‘greens’, has rightly decided to substitute the Hill Area Conservation Authority with a new authority with adequate policy and executive powers.
The Chief Minister was the first to declare a moratorium on indiscriminate constructions in the Nilgiris in 1991 and later introduced a Master Plan for the district.
She was the first to bring a law to protect the endangered rosewood tree.
The Chief Minister promptly withdrew the Kallarpallam hydro electric project near Kotagiri on the basis of a reassessment in 1995.
Tamil Nadu has huge potential for mountain conservation and tourism. The Chief Minister has the vision and commitment to bring a comprehensive master plan for their sustainable and inclusive development.
The proposed authority would be the right body to undertake the ‘ground truthing’ of the Western ghat areas falling within the State for declaring them eco-sensitive areas.Trend setter
The Chief Minister’s decision will be a trend setter for other States to take the initiative to preserve their own natural and cultural heritage.
Global experience shows that States and local bodies are the best conservators of national heritage.