‘Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats will prevent excessive mining’

New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) Implementing the Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats will prevent excessive mining in the region, union Environment and Forests Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Tuesday.

He noted that the effort of the government was to preserve the sanctity of the Western Ghats and also ensure sustainable development in the region by providing livelihood opportunities.

The minister said the report once implemented will also help the region avoid getting polluted due to the industries.

“The real importance of the implementation of the Kasturirangan report on the Western Ghats is that excessive commercial mining and polluting industries will not be permitted in the region,” Javadekar told reporters.

He said it will not have any impact on the livelihood of the people and that all fears about mining were misplaced and the misgivings must be done away with.

Javadekar said a meeting was held to discuss the recommendations of the officials of the states who visited villages in the region and held discussions with the people.

“A majority of the people of the villages said they do not want polluting industries and commercial mining in their area. All the states have given their proposals and have also got public opinion, as well as scientific studies done,” Javadekar said.

The government will finalise the decision on the Western Ghats by August-end, he said.

A working group headed by then Planning Commission member K. Kasturirangan had given its report on the Western Ghats to the environment ministry in April 2013.

Kasturirangan had said it was imperative to protect, manage and regenerate the land now remaining in the Western Ghats as biologically rich, diverse, natural landscapes.

The ministry had published a draft notification last year for declaring an ecologically sensitive area in the Western Ghats in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The identified ecologically sensitive area represents a continuous band of natural vegetation, extending over a horizontal distance of about 1,500 km along the west coast of the country.

The Western Ghats is regarded as a global biodiversity hotspot harbouring many endemic species of flowering plants, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates. It supports a population of about 50 million people.

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