Goa seeks inclusion in UNESCO`s heritage list

Panaji: Goa government will seek support of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to get its Western Ghats listed in the world heritage site of UNESCO, state Environment and Forest Minister Alina Saldanha here said.

A team of forest department officials, led by Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Richard D`Souza, has been studying the details of the recent UNESCO decision, which has tagged several sites in the Western Ghats as world heritage, Saldanha said.

Environmentalists in the state were upset after UNESCO`s list of world heritage sites had no mention of Goa, even as it has listed 39 sites in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra as a part of India`s "serial nomination of the Western Ghats."

"The team is looking into the minute details for informing the MoEF for the inscription of Western Ghats, Goa sector as a world heritage site," she said during a tree plantation drive in her constituency at Cortalim.

"Once Goa also gets recognised as a world heritage site by the UNESCO, the Western Ghats, Goa sector, will automatically be in the focus at the national and international levels and help protect forests in the region," she said.

The environmentalists have expressed worry about increasing mining activity near the western ghat range, which runs through the state.

"Besides, there will be immense scope for tourists and researchers who like to visit the area and study the diverse species," the minister added.

"The bio-diversity within the Goa sector of western ghats reflects one of the most complex, plant, animal, bird life combine. More than 1,512 species of plants, including some rare endemic species along with animals and reptiles form a part of this region," Alina mentioned.

The 1600-km long Western Ghats mountain chain starts at the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra and runs through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and end at Kanyakumari.


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