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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Preservation of Eastern & Western Ghats

Why in News?

public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Centre and State government to constitute a permanent body for taking serious steps to safeguard the flora, fauna and other natural resources in the Eastern and Western Ghat areas in Tamil Nadu.

The petition is on the basis of the recommendations made by the Madhav Gadgil and Kasturi Rangan committees.

What’s the issue?

Petitioner contended that the natural resources abundantly available in this area are being properly utilised by other regions, except Tamil Nadu. They are being misutilised and mismanaged not only by the administrators but also by the public at large.

Besides, large-scale plantations of coffee, tea and orchards have been raised in the hills of Western Ghats. Aromatic and valuable trees like sandal are removed illegally. Despite the Wildlife Protection Act, hunting takes place in some pockets. The forests are getting degraded because of illicit collection of firewood, illicit grazing and illicit felling of trees.

What did the Gadgil Committee say?

  1. It defined the boundaries of the Western Ghats for the purposes of ecological management.
  2. It proposed that this entire area be designated as ecologically sensitive area (ESA).
  3. Within this area, smaller regions were to be identified as ecologically sensitive zones (ESZ) I, II or IIIbased on their existing condition and nature of threat.
  4. It proposed to divide the area into about 2,200 grids,of which 75 per cent would fall under ESZ I or II or under already existing protected areas such as wildlife sanctuaries or natural parks.
  5. The committee proposed a Western Ghats Ecology Authority to regulate these activities in the area.

Why was Kasturirangan Committee setup?

None of the six concerned states agreed with the recommendations of the Gadgil Committee, which submitted its report in August 2011.

In August 2012, then Environment Minister constituted a High-Level Working Group on Western Ghats under Kasturirangan to “examine” the Gadgil Committee report in a “holistic and multidisciplinary fashion in the light of responses received” from states, central ministries and others.

The Kasturirangan report seeks to bring just 37% of the Western Ghats under the Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) zones — down from the 64% suggested by the Gadgil report.

Recommendations of Kasturirangan Committee:

  1. A ban on mining, quarrying and sand mining.
  2. No new thermal power projects, but hydro power projects allowed with restrictions.
  3. A ban on new polluting industries.
  4. Building and construction projects up to 20,000 sq m were to be allowed but townships were to be banned.5.     Forest diversion could be allowed with extra safeguards

Facts for Prelims

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The ‘shared economy’ includes segments such as co-working (Awfis, We Work India), co-living (Stanza Living, OYO Life, Oxford Caps), shared mobility (Uber, Ola, Shuttl) and furniture rental (Furlenco, Rentomojo.)



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