TN opposes Centre's move to set up Western Ghats Eco authority
Chennai: Tamil Nadu Government today opposed Centre's move to establish a Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA) for approval of new projects, saying it was "totally unnecessary" and a "gross assault on the powers of the state governments".
"The creation of the said Authority is a gross assault on the powers of state governments to administer ecologically sensitive areas situated within their own geographical boundaries in the name of environmental scrutiny," Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
She was referring to the Union Environment Minister seeking the state government's views on the report of Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) recommending setting up of the WGEA.
She said the move seeks to create another "redundant super body" at the national level to take on and perform functions of State institutions in agricultural, forestry, environmental and other sectors. It would also act as an appellate body with the authority to give directions to the State governments.
Any attempt by the Government to assume powers to regulate policy with regard to land use, developmental activities and issue directions in the name of environment "is uncalled for and can only be viewed as an encroachment on the sovereign powers of the State Governments," she said.
Stating that Tamil Nadu was a frontrunner in nature and environmental conservation, she said the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel report contains "no materials to make out any case for any shortcoming in the conservation of the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu."
A detailed view of the state on WGEEP recommendations was being sent separately by the Environment and Forests department to the High Level Working Group headed by K Kasturirangan". She said.