Moratorium on new projects in coastal Maharashtra extended

January 10th, 2011 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 10 (IANS) The environment ministry Monday extended the moratorium on considering new projects in coastal Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra till June 2011, officials said Monday. However, the environmental clearances already granted to projects in the districts will continue to be in force, despite the moratorium, the officials added.

The ministry Aug 16, 2010, had imposed a four-month moratorium on considering projects for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

According to the ministry, the matter was referred to the Western Ghat Ecology Expert Panel and report of this panel is awaited.

“The moratorium, therefore, is extended up to June 30, 2011, in respect of consideration of proposals in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra,” said an environment ministry official.

The decision on the moratorium was taken after representations from various quarters expressed concern over the environmental impact and ecological degradation due to projects being proposed in these districts.

Keeping in view the ecological importance of the Western Ghats, the ministry has also constituted the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, headed by environmental expert Madhav Gadgil.

The panel will suggest measures for conservation, protection and rejuvenation of the Western Ghats and also examine the developmental trends in the region.

The Western Ghats cover an area of approximately 1.6 lakh sq km and are spread across Gujarat (Dangs region), Konkan in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala.

The area is rich in flora and fauna and is home to several rare species of birds, animals and reptiles, and new species are discovered regularly.

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