Union Minister Environment, Forest & Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Thursday interacted with Chief Ministers, Cabinet Ministers and other state officials of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tami Nadu via video conference to discuss issues relating to notification of Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) pertaining to the Western Ghats.
The Centre had constituted a High-Level Working Group under the Chairmanship of Dr Kasturirangan to conserve and protect the biodiversity of Western Ghats while allowing for sustainable and inclusive development of the region.
"The Committee had recommended that identified geographical areas falling in the six States of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu may be declared as Ecologically Sensitive Areas. A draft notification was issued in October 2018 mentioning the areas to be notified in the ESA," read the release by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
"States were of the unanimous view that looking into the importance of Western Ghats, there is a need to ensure the protection of the Western Ghats. However, the states expressed their views as regards activities and extent of the area mentioned in the said notification," it said.
The ministry said that it was decided that state-specific issues shall be further deliberated so as to arrive at a consensus on the issue. "The states expressed their desire to expedite early notification while protecting the interest of ecology and environment," read the release.
After the meeting, Javadekar in a tweet said, "The interaction was fruitful as every state expressed its desire to expedite early notification while protecting interests of ecology and environment of Western Ghats."
Held a meeting, through VC, with CMs of Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa & Forest Ministers of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat on proposed notification of Eco Sensitive area in #WesternGhats .@moefcc @PIB_India @PMOIndia pic.twitter.com/AzGrTO73JD— Prakash Javadekar (@PrakashJavdekar) May 21, 2020
Meanwhile, Karnataka on Thursday said Prakash Javadekar has agreed to hold discussions with the states individually regarding the implementation of K Kasturirangan committee. "The Chief Minister, expressing the state's opinion, said gram panchayats, taluk panchayats, Zilla panchayats, elected representatives and the Cabinet has rejected the draft notification of ecologically sensitive areas according to Kasturirangan committee report in its present format," the CMO in a statement said.
Since every state has different problems and challenges, it is not for the central government to issue an identical notification for all states, the Chief Minister explained, it said.
The Madhav Gadgil Commission, formed in 2010, recommended in its report submitted to the government in August 2011 that 64% of the Western Ghats be declared ecologically sensitive. However, in 2012, the Environment Ministry formed a working group on the Western Ghats under Indian space scientist K Kasturirangan to examine the Gadgil Commission report and recommended 37% of the Ghats be declared ESAs.
(With agency inputs)