Centre acceds to Kerala`s plea to keep agricultural land out of ESA

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 23:28

New Delhi: Acceding to Kerala government`s demand, the Centre today decided to keep agricultural land, plantations and habitations out of Ecologically Senstive Areas (ESAs) identified by a committee.

It also decided to consider similar proposals of other states in Western Ghats region if forwarded within 60 days of issuance of the draft notification.

A major controversy had erupted last year by the implementation of the Kasturirangan committee recommendations which was seen by locals as prohibiting even plantation activities in the Western Ghats.

"Recommendations of the state government were examined by the Ministry of Environment and Forest and it has been decided to accept these recommendations in respect of Kerala, regarding ESA boundaries.
"The draft notification is being issued by the Ministry incorporating the said modifications," said a government statement issued this evening.

Kerala government had set up an expert committee to study the impact of the Kasturirangan committee recommendations and had set up panchayat-level committees in 123 villages falling within ESAs as identified by the committee for undertaking field verification and interaction with the stakeholders.

The committee was of the view that agricultural lands, plantations and habitations may be kept out of the ESAs, the statement said.
"It has also been decided that the MoEF will consider recommendations of the other states in Western Ghats region based on similar on-ground exercise if such proposals are forwarded to the MoEF within 60 days of issuance of the draft notification," the statement said.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 23:28

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