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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA Ministry of Environment and Forests
RAJYA SABHA UNSTARRED QUESTION NO. 516 TO BE ANSWERED ON AUGUST 14, 2012 Recommendations by Madhav Gadgil Panel for Western Ghat
516. SHRI RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR:
Will the Minister of ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS be pleased to state:
(a) whether the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, headed by Ecologist Madhav Gadgil, has submitted its recommendations/report;
(b) if so, by when Government will implement the recommendations of the Panel;
(c) whether massive construction activity has been carried out over the Ghats zone, resulting in large-scale vegetation cutting etc; and
(d) if so, the steps being taken by Government to preserve and protect the Western Ghats, which is about to be upgraded to the status of World Heritage sites?
ANSWER MINISTER OF STATE (INDEPENDENT CHARGE) FOR ENVIRONMENT AND FORESTS (SHRIMATI JAYANTHI NATARAJAN)
(a) & (b) The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests has submitted its report to the Ministry. The Ministry is consulting the concerned State Governments, Central Ministries and has sought stakeholder comments and has not yet taken any view on the recommendations contained in the report. The Ministry is considering to constitute a High Level Committee to further examine the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel report.
(c) & (d) The Ministry of Environment and Forests has not received any complaints/representations in regard to massive construction activity resulting in large scale vegetation cutting. However, all the developmental activities including construction activity as listed in the schedule of Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 require prior environmental clearance from the Central Government in respect of category A projects and from the State Level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority in respect of category B projects. The developmental activities requiring diversion of forest land and located near Protected Areas require relevant clearances under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The same regulations apply on the developmental activities including construction activity in the Ghats zones. The Ministry has also imposed moratorium for consideration of projects from Ratanagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra up to 31st December 2012. Further, some parts of the Western Ghats zone have now been listed in the UNESCO Natural World Heritage List.