Goa urges Centre to exclude 39 villages from ESA list

Panaji: The state government has urged the Centre to exclude 39 villages out of 99 villages included as eco-sensitive areas in the Western Ghats.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral discussed the matter with Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javdekar and sent a proposal to the ministry.

In the past, when Manohar Parrikar was the chief minister, the state government had also urged the Union ministry to exclude 33 Goan villages from the list of ESAs, which has been categorised so for preserving the Western Ghats.

The central government has prepared a plan to declare several villages in Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as ESAs.

However, all the four states have been demanding exclusion of villages from the ESA list arguing that categorisation of the same as ESAs would severely affect the people.

Two committees have recommended to the central government that there must be stringent restrictions on taking up of development projects in the villages situated in wildlife sanctuaries along the Western Ghats.

The Union government has been trying to notify these villages as ESAs for the last several years. However, strong opposition from the states has dissuaded the Centre from doing so. Now, the matter is in the National Green Tribunal, which has directed the Centre to issue final notification on the ESAs.

Sources in the state administration said that Goa has put up its case strongly, and suggested a way-out for excluding the 39 villages from eco-sensitive zone.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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