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State government condemns ‘Eco-sensitive Zone’

Western ranges

A notification issued by the Central Department of Environment regarding Western Ranges Eco-sensitive Zone saw strong reflexes in cabinet meeting on Wednesday

Western ranges

Mumbai: A notification issued by the Central Department of Environment regarding ‘Western Ranges Eco-sensitive Zone’ saw strong reflexes in cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The meeting resolved to oppose ‘Eco-sensitive Zone’ like Kerala and Karnataka governments.

The Central Department of Environment has issued notification announcing some parts of 12 districts in Western ranges of Maharashtra as Eco-sensitive. The department has given 60 days deadline to revert with objection on terms and conditions mentioned in the proposed draft.

A hurdle in Konkan’s development works, Eco-sensitive zone, was strongly opposed by the Minister of Industries Narayan Rane right from beginning. The Member of Parliament for Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg district Dr Nilesh Rane too had protested for it. He was constantly stating that Eco-sensitive zone will hugely hamper the development in Konkan. It will adversely affect lifestyle of people residing here.

Other districts in Maharashtra are also against Eco-sensitive zone which was reflected in cabinet meeting when notification was issued.

Karnataka and Kerala will also be affected by this notification hence their governments are strongly opposing it. It was decided in a cabinet meeting that Maharashtra State Government should also oppose it.

What Western Ranges notification contains?

The central department of Environment and Forest Ministry has recently issued a temporary notification to announce 37 per cent part of Western Ranges enriched with natural resources, as environmentally sensitive. Almost 56,825 sq km area of Western Ranges spread over Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is announced as environmentally sensitive. Hence, these areas will be prohibited to undertake excavation, mining, big constructions and nuclear energy projects.

But 3000 sq km part of Kerala was excluded after state government’s demand. As per the report prepared by their experts’ committee and its recommendations, agricultural lands, fruit fields, farms and residential areas were excluded from this zone. These parts were earlier included in a report prepared by Kasturiranjan Committee.

As per the proposed provisions mining, nuclear energy projects and pollution generating manufacturing will be forbidden. It will also disallow construction and other development works.

The notification prohibits construction on larger than 20,000 sq mtr areas, construction of new cities and any development project larger than 50 hectors and MIDC. However, hydro power projects are permitted.

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