Only 50 Goan villages are eco-sensitive, not 99

PTI, PANAJI | 27 April 2015 15:28 IST

In a relief to over 40 villages of Goa, the state government-appointed committee has said only 50 villages fall under eco-sensitive areas (ESA) of the Western Ghats and not 99 as stated by Dr K Kasturirangan Committee.

The state government panel's report comes after Dr Kasturirangan Committee, constituted by the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF), had marked 99 villages as eco-sensitive zones in Goa, ceasing development works in those areas. 

A senior state environment ministry official told PTI on Sunday that only 50 villages from the talukas of Sattari, Sanguem and Canacona can be marked as "eco-sensitive". 

"As far as rest of the areas are concerned, only certain parts of these villages in the proximity of protected areas like wildlife sanctuaries can be included as eco-sensitive," he said. 

The government will send the report to MoEF by June 15, which will be considered for final notification of the eco-sensitive zones. 

Earlier, the high-level working group of MoEF headed by Dr Kasturirangan Committee on Western Ghat had identified 1,461 sq km area, covering 99 villages (entire villages) in three talukas — Sattari (56), Sanguem (38) and Canacona (five) — as eco-sensitive. 

Then chief minister Manohar Parrikar had refused to accept the report stating that the ESAs were declared keeping the state in dark. 

Fears were raised that such a demarcation of ESAs would affect local inhabitants. 

After objection registered by several states, MoEF had directed seven states in the Western ghat to have physical demarcation of eco-sensitive boundaries and submit the report for fresh consideration. 

The final date for submission was April 15. The Goa government, however, sought additional time till June.

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