Declare Sahyadri sensitive

| 02 April 2001 22:54 IST

Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa have joined hands together demanding that the whole western ghat belt be declared as the Sahyadri Ecologically Sensitive Area under the provisions of the Environment Protection Act.

A detailed manifesto of Dos and Don'ts in this regard was released here on 1 April, at a meeting of NGOs from Uttar Kannada and Belgaum in Karnataka, Sindhudurg and Kolhapur in Maharashtra as well as Goa, under the umbrella organisation - the National Committee for Protection of Natural Resources, Dharwar.

It basically demands stopping or expansion of any developmental project or industry that would affect the life-sustaining ecological system along 8000 sq kms of west coast in general and peninsular India in general as it has been also identified as one of the ecological hotspot in the world.

The five-page manifesto also proposes alternate positive steps for developing the region and educating and empowering forest dwellers while encouraging participatory land use planning and management.

The meeting, which was attended by over 100 environmentalists, has appealed to all nature lovers including politicians and bureaucrats to send memorandum to the centre and state governments, demanding a notification of SESA under sections 3 (2) (v) and 5 (v) of the Environment Protection Act.

Debbie Goenka of the Bombay Environment Action Group, on the occasion, narrated her experience of getting Mahabaleshwar and Panchagani - the famous tourist spots of Maharashtra - notified as ecologically sensitive areas.

As a first phase, the meeting proposed that the forest belt in North Karnataka including Uttar Kannada and Belgaum districts, eastern Goa comprising of forests declared as sanctuaries and South Maharashtra including Kolhapur and Sindhudurg districts be declared the sensitive areas.

According to S R Hiremath, the NCPNR president, the whole belt supports some of the richest evergreen, semi-green, moist and dry deciduous forests containing of thousands of plant species, hundreds of animal species, fish and aquatic beings, birds, moths and butterflies as well as countless medicinal plants.

S C Sardeshpande, president of the Belgaum-based Paryavarani, strongly objects to Karnataka's proposal to the centre to declare this region as biosphere reserve. "It purely aims at development of research and documentation whereas the SESA fulfils the objective of legal protection", he observes.

To overcome the dangerous trend of destruction along the Sahyadri belt, the manifesto thus demands to immediately stop mining, quarrying and blasting, no renewal of existing leases, no construction of dams, reservoirs, canals and tunnels, no submergence of forests and no expansion of existing hazardous industries.

Local communities are the best protectors of forest, thus there should not be forced displacement of people, states the manifesto. It also proposes alternatives like joint forest management, eco-tourism, hydel power projects, support to small scale and local industries, power generation from wind mills and solar energy, medicinal plant cultivation and raising marketing organisations for minor forest produce.

The crucial meeting was hosted at Old Goa by Mhadei Bachao Andolan and Vivekanand Environment Awareness Brigade, the local groups which are vehemently fighting Karnataka's plans to divert river Mhadei, which originates in Karnataka forests but runs as a lifeline of Goa.

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Western ghat is made by the Volcanic activity. The rock is Igneous. There is high rainfall of Mahrashtra.Arebian Sea is located to the Western side.

Due to the Climatic postion the is greate BIODIVERSITY of the world. We must care of it. It is one of proud thing of our nation. Environmental awreness is best solutiion on this question.

- shoukat Zumbarbhai Fakir, Ahmednagar | 28 th December 2012 12:57

 

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