Ecological concerns will be studied after rescue work

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JAYANTHIChennai, June 30;With environmentalists citing ecological degradation as the reason for the natural disaster in Uttarakhand, the Centre on Sunday said it would take stock of the situation and study such concerns once rescue operations were completed.

“We have to wait till the rescue operations are over and then we have to take stock of the situation before we decide on anything,” the Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters in Chennai.

She was responding to a query on the reported IIT Roorkee study, which blamed unplanned roads for the landslides in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand.

Ms. Natarajan recalled that the Centre had last year recommended declaring a 135 km-stretch in Uttarakhand as a “fragile environment zone”.

To a query on how the government intended to balance development and environment in the hill state, she said, “The people of Uttarakhand and the Assembly have passed a resolution that they want development. We will try to find an acceptable solution through a democratic manner.”

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