Six states to discuss conservation of Western Ghats, livelihood

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar will hold a meeting Tuesday to review the progress of physical demarcation of Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) in Western Ghats region and will also discuss further course of action for its protection and conservation.

New Delhi: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar will hold a meeting Tuesday to review the progress of physical demarcation of Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) in Western Ghats region and will also discuss further course of action for its protection and conservation.

Javadekar will meet Environment and Forest Ministers of the states falling under the Western Ghats region--Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

"The meeting will review the progress of physical demarcation of ESA in Western Ghats and will discuss the further course of action for the protection and conservation of Western Ghats.

"The main focus of the meeting will be to conserve the biodiversity of the Western Ghats region, while providing adequate opportunities for livelihood security of the local people in the broad paradigm of ESA which is not just about regulation of development but is intimately linked to positive promotion of environment-friendly and socially inclusive development," an official statement said.

The meeting comes after the Environment Minister had earlier asserted that the Centre will consult all the stakeholders concerned before taking any decision on the Kasturirangan Committee report.

The 10-member high-level working group (HLWG), headed by Kasturirangan, was constituted to examine the Western Ghats ecology expert panel report (WGEEP) prepared under the leadership of eminent ecologist Madhav Gadgil.

Based on the requests received from some of the states falling in the region, the Environment Ministry had decided to give an opportunity to those states to undertake the demarcation of ESA by physical verification and submit their proposals to the Ministry by June 30 this year.

All the states were given the opportunity except for Kerela which has already undertaken such an exercise.

The Ministry had published a draft notification in Gazette of India on March 10, 2014 under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for declaring ESA in the Western Ghats in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The identified ESA represents a continuous band of natural vegetation, extending over a distance of about 1,500 km along the west coast of the country, the statement said.

The concept of ESA provides a mechanism to conserve biologically diversity of an area while allowing for sustainable development to take place.

Western Ghats is a global biodiversity hotspot harbouring many species of flowering plants, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates.

It also supports a population of approximately fifty million people and includes areas of high human population density. 

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