HC rap for Centre over Ecology panel report on Sahyadri range
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today rapped the Centre for failing to take a decision on a report submitted by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel in connection with the conservation measures in Sahyadri range.
A division bench headed by Justice D D Sinha questioned the central government on why it had failed to take decision on implementation of the report despite their earlier directions on June 12.
The panel headed by Madhav Gadgil had made recommendations on conserving and preserving ecologically sensitive areas within the Sahyadri range.
The Maharashtra government has already forwarded its views on the panel's recommendations to the Centre way back on January 25, 2012. However, the Central government has still not taken any specific decision on the same.
The state government counsel also informed the court that they are not issuing new mining leases in the ecologically sensitive area until final decision was taken on the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel.
The court was hearing a petition filed by city-based NGO Awaaz Foundation seeking that the central government should be directed to declare Sawantwadi - Doddamarg wildlife corridor in Sindhudurg district as ecologically sensitive areas. The NGO has raised apprehensions of rapid degradation of significant bio-diversity reserves within the corridor.
The corridor has 303 species of plants, shrubs and trees several with crucial medicinal values, 18 species of wildlife, including Bengal tiger, leopards, black bear and wild buffaloes and 13 species of birds.
Besides, the 35-square kilometer stretch facilitates movement of wild animals such as Asiatic elephant, extremely endangered tiger between Koyna and Radhanagari Wildlife Sancturies and Chandoli National Park.