Draft Notification declaring Eco Sensitive Area around Western Ghats, India
The Environment Ministry has for the third time notified the proposed ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs) in the Western Ghats, despite Tamil Nadu’s continued opposition to the proposal. The draft notification was reissued on February 27 as the previous notification, issued on September 4, 2015, is set to expire within a month. The first draft notification was issued in 2014. According to the draft notification, 56,825 sqkm area in the Ghats, including 20,668 sqkm in Karnataka, would be declared as an ESA, where restrictions would be imposed on setting up industries and big construction projects. As much as 9,993.7 sqkm of the demarcated ESA zone belongs to Kerala, 449 sqkm is in Gujarat, 17,340 sqkm in Maharashtra, 1,461 sqkm in Goa and 6,914 sqkm in Tamil Nadu. However, the notified area in the draft is at least 3,000 sqkm less than the area identified by the expert group, headed by former Isro chairman K Kasturirangan. Most of the missing area is in Kerala.