Millennium Post

W Ghat: HLWG for prohibitory regime in 60,000 sq km area

A crucial report on Western Ghats prepared by K Kasturirangan-led high-level working group (HLWG) has recommended prohibition on development activities in 60,000 sq km ecologically sensitive area spread over Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The 10-member panel, constituted to examine the Western Ghats ecology expert panel report prepared under the leadership of environmentalist Madhav Gadgil, has also moved away from the suggestions of the Gadgil panel.

The Gadgil panel had recommended a blanket approach consisting of guidelines for sector-wise activities, which would be permitted in the ecologically sensitive zones.

‘Environmentally sound development cannot preclude livelihood and economic options for this region the answer (to the question of how to manage and conserve the Ghats) will not lie in removing these economic options, but in providing better incentives to move them towards greener and more sustainable practices,’ the report says.

The panel submitted the report to environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Wednesday.

‘... roughly 37 per cent of the total area defined as the boundary of the Western Ghats is ecologically sensitive. Over this area of some 60,000 sq km, spread over the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the working group has recommended a prohibitory regime on those activities with maximum interventionist and destructive impact on the environment,’ the panel says in its report.

The Working Group was constituted to advise the government on the recommendations of an earlier report of ecologist Madhav Gadgil-led Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP).
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