Dandi to be declared eco-sensitive zone

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 22:24

Navsari: The Centre has decided to
declare Dandi, the site of historic salt satyagrah by Mahatma
Gandhi in 1930, as an eco-sensitive zone.

"We had received a proposal from the Gujarat
Government that the Gulf of Kutch and Dandi be declared as eco
-sensitive zones looking at their unique ecology and
historical importance," Union Minister for Environment and
Forests Jairam Ramesh said today.

"I am happy to inform that the Central Government has
decided to declare Dandi and three surrounding villages as an
eco-sensitive zone under the Environment Protection Act,
1986," he said.

The move would mean that an industrial unit or any
other project coming up in the area would need prior approval
of the local people, the Minister said.

Ramesh was speaking after launching a project, Green
Action for National Dandi Heritage Initiative (GANDHI), here.
Dandi, in Navsari district, is a small village on the western
coast of Gujarat.

"A local monitoring committee, comprising panchayat
members and villagers, would be constituted. The committee
will be responsible for preserving the ecology of the area.

The proposal with regard to Gulf of Kutch was under
consideration by the Environment Ministry, he added.
About GANDHI, Ramesh said it was a national project
and was not a political initiative.

A local monitoring committee, comprising panchayat members and villagers, would be constituted. The committee will be responsible for preserving the ecology of the area.

The proposal with regard to Gulf of Kutch was under consideration by the Environment Ministry, he added. "I would like to clarify that there is no politics in GANDHI project. It does not belong to the Centre or the state. This is a national project and nobody needs to take credit for it," Ramesh said.

The project is aimed at ensuring overall development and conservation of the environment of Dandi and its surrounding villages by applying Gandhian principles.

"This would be more like an environmental memorial inspired by Gandhiji`s thoughts on environment. Under this, mangrove conservation on the 8km-long coastline of Dandi will be taken up," the Minister said.

A solar-powered desalination plant would be installed for drinking water facility for the tourists, followed by environment-related work in nearby villages with support of state government and community-based organisations, he said.

The Rs 25-crore project would be completed in two years in collaboration with Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad and Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC).

According to Member-Secretary of GEC E Balagurusami, a slew of activities would be taken up under the project. These include mangrove afforestation, bio-shield development, beach nourishment, conservation of coastal features and wetlands.

Ramesh praised the mangrove conservation work done by the Gujarat Government and said it was an example for the country.

"Gujarat has been successful in mangrove conservation, especially in the Gulf of Kutch. Now, it has also started doing it in Gulf of Khambhat."

Under the World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) programme, Gujarat would be getting Rs 300 crore over next five years, Ramesh said.

Gujarat would begin work on the ICZM in next two months as the Centre has already released the first instalment to the state, he said.

Activities to be undertaken under ICZM would include environment conservation, pollution control, installation of sewerage treatment plants and conservation of the coastline, he added.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 22:24

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