Panel set up to assess the ecological status of Western Ghats

New Delhi: Government on Thursday set up a 14-member panel, headed by renowned environmentalist Madhav Gadgil, to assess the ecological status of Western Ghats which would enable it to demarcate sensitive zones.

The panel will recommend measures for preservation, conservation and rejuvenation of region. It will submit its report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests within six months, a notification issued today said.

One of the 34 global hot-spots of biodiversity, the Western Ghats spread across six states -- Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today convened a meeting of 43 MPs representing the 51 districts of Western Ghat region. These MPs will meet regularly to take stock of the issues regarding ecology and sustainable development of the region.

The government has already announced the plan to establish the Sahyadri Ecological Authority which will make recommendations for conservation and protection of the Western Ghats after elaborate and comprehensive consultation process involving the six concerned states.

The Western Ghats spreading over 1,600-km-long mountainous corridor across the coast from the mouth of Tapti river in Dhule district of Maharashtra to the tip of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu is ecologically sensitive zone.