GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
Ministry of Environment and Forests
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO. 1415
ANSWERED ON AUGUST 22, 2013
Uncontrolled Development in Himalayan Region
1415. SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR:
Will the Minister of ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS be pleased to state;
(a) the recent tragedy in Uttarakhand can be attributed to rampant, uncontrolled development in the Himalayan region, what steps Government is taking to assess its past decision making that may have contributed to this tragedy: and
(b) the steps Government proposes to take in the future to protect the region from such rampant development and prevent the recurrence of such a tragedy?
MINISTER OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE) FOR ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS
(SHRIMATI JAYANTHI NATARAJAN)
(a) & (b): The environment and forest clearance for various developmental projects, including those in hilly areas in the State of Uttarakhand, are granted after following statutory procedures. The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 as amended from time, prescribes the procedure to be adopted for the grant of prior environment clearance in respect of developmental projects or activities stated in the Schedule to the Notification. Similarly, the diversion of forest land for non-forest activities is only allowed as per the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the rules and guidelines framed there under.
In addition to the regular environment regulatory regime, the Ministry of Environment & Forests has notified vide S.O. NO. 2930 (E) dated 18th December, 2012, the entire watershed or about 100 kilometers stretch of the river Bhagirathi from Gaumukh to Uttarkashi covering an area of 4.179.59 square kilometers in the State of Uttarakhand as Eco-sensitive zone thereby inter-alia prohibiting and regulating certain activities within the Zone.