New Delhi: Environment Ministry has constituted a high-level Working Group headed by eminent space scientist and Planning Commission member K Kasturirangan to examine the Western Ghats ecology expert panel report "in a holistic and multidisciplinary fashion".
The nine-member Group will examine the Madhav Gadgil committee report released recently "in a holistic and multidisciplinary fashion keeping in view the comments received from the concerned state governments, central ministries, stakeholders", the Ministry said.
The panel will also examine "other related important aspects such as preservation of precious biodiversity, needs and aspirations of the local and indigenous people, sustainable development and environmental integrity of the region, climate change and constitutional implications of centre-state relations," it said.
Prof C R Babu (Delhi University), J M Mauskar (Ex-Special Secretary, MoEF), Prof Kanchan Chopra (Ex-Director, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi), Jagadish Kishwan (Additional Director General of Forests (Wildlife), Darshan Shankar (Chairman, Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Bangalore), Sunita Narain (Director, Centre for Science and Environment, P S Roy (Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun and Ajay Tyagi (Joint Secretary, MoEF) are the members of the committee.
Indrani Chandrasekhran, (Advisor, Environment and Forests, Planning Commission) will be the special invitee.
The Kasturirangan-headed panel will also study the implications of Centre-State relations with respect to conservation and sustainable development of Western Ghats.
Western Ghats are an important geological landform of peninsular India. It is the origin of Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri and a myriad of rivers which are life line for the people of southern India.
On its ecological health depends livelihoods of millions of people belonging to the six Western Ghats states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Western Ghats is also one of the identified hotspots of biological diversity globally and is a treasure trove of biological diversity. It harbours many endemic species of flowering plants, endemic fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates.
The Gadgil panel report had termed Western Ghats as extremely ecologically sensitive region and favoured restricted mining and other development activities, which was opposed by several state governments.