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सेमिनार: अंग्रेज़ी सीखने का अवसर (23 सितंबर: दोपहर 3 बजे)
Western Ghats: NGT's 'No' to Industries in Eco-Sensitive Zone
Sep 30, 2014

The National Green Tribunal ordered that the existing Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) of the Western Ghats should remain out of bounds for fresh industrial or development projects till a final decision on the demarcation of the zone is taken by the government. The NGT ruled that it was up to the Environment Ministry to define the ecologically sensitive area in the Western Ghats and it should act with utmost expeditiousness to do so. 

It is for the Ministry to take all the initiatives in relation to defining the eco-sensitive areas in the Western Ghats region and take it to its logical end by issuing final notification. It will be in the interest of all the stakeholders that these directions will operate to the entire (existing) eco-sensitive area of the Western Ghats and no fresh Environmental Clearance of permissions are issued by the Environment Ministry till it issues the final notification. 

Earlier, two government appointed committees have made recommendations regarding areas in the region that must be kept away from industrial activity. The first, a one-man committee of environmentalist Madhav Gadgil recommended that no fresh industrial activity should be allowed in the entire region. The other one, headed by space scientist K Kasturirangan, suggested that only about 37 per cent of the region was ecologically sensitive.

In November 2013, the Environment Ministry issued a draft notification prohibiting a range of fresh industrial, mining and construction activities in the ESA defined by the Kasturirangan committee. Following protests by some of the states affected by this notification, the Ministry had agreed to consider suggestions from states to change, either include or exclude, this ESA when it issues its final notification.

Meanwhile, applications for project clearances were being made in the existing ESA, hoping that these sites might be excluded from the final ESA when it is defined.

NGT’s order clarifies that till this final notification is issued, with a fresh definition of the ESA, clearances for any fresh industrial or construction activity cannot be granted.

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