No More Clearances For Projects In Eco-Sensitive Areas Of Western Ghats: NGTFlooded areas of Kerala (PIB India/Twitter)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has barred six states from issuing any environmental clearance in western ghats which may adversely affect ecologically sensitive, OnManorama has reported.

"As already directed vide order dated 25 September 2014, no environmental clearance be granted and no activity adversely impacting eco-sensitive areas be permitted in the areas covered by draft notification dated till the matter is finalised," the bench said.

The green panel also allowed Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to republish its notification which lapsed on 26 August. It also ordered the MoEF to retain eco-sensitive zones as identified in its 27 February notification and finalise the matter within six months.

The bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel slammed the states for not filing their objections to MoEF’s demarcation of eco-sensitive zones in time. It added that delay in filing objections would not be “conducive” for protection of eco-sensitive zones.

Commercial mining, setting up of industries and several other activities are banned in eco-sensitive zones as per the guidelines of MoEF. Eco-sensitive zones in Western Ghats had been identified by two panels appointed by the government. While the Madhav Gadgil-led committee had recommended eco-sensitive zone status for the entire western ghats, the Kasturirangan panel had marked 37 per cent of the Western Ghats region as eco-sensitive zones. The recent floods in Kerala and Coorg have brought back public attention on these committees’ recommendations about environmental protection in the area.

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