Dehradun: Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said it was wrong to assume that development will come to a halt in the 100 km-stretch in Uttarakhand which has recently been declared an eco-sensitive zone by the Centre.
"A myth is being spread that all development work will come to a standstill in the 100 km-stretch from Gomukh to Uttarkashi on either side of the Bhagirathi due to the area being declared an eco-sensitive zone," said Ramesh, during whose tenure as Union Environment Minister the proposal for declaring the area an eco-sensitive zone was drafted.
People must understand that eco-sensitive zones permit development but in a regulated manner, he said.
The notification declaring the area in Uttarkashi district may have been declared as an eco-sensitive zone through a notification but so much is yet to be done including preparation of a master plan putting a ban on certain activities and allowing some others to be taken up, he said.
People of the area will be taken into confidence before a list of "permissible, regulated and prohibited" activities in the area is prepared. So they have nothing to fear, the Union Minister said.
The Centre recently issued a gazette notification declaring the area as eco-sensitive sparking protests by locals who are apprehensive that the stature of an eco-sensitive zone will bring development activities to a halt in the area.
Even Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna led a delegation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month asking him to put the notification on hold and implement it only after some modifications.
Ramesh, who was here to review the progress of rural development schemes in Uttarakhand, said Rs 109 crore will be sanctioned under the Indira Avas Yojana to benefit 1,40,000 BPL families in the hill state.
The amount of Rs 48,500 given earlier for construction of houses under the scheme has now been revised to Rs 75,000, he said.