India

Uttarakhand: Natarajan bats for eco-sensitive proposal

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UTTARAKHANDMumbai, June 20;Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Thursday said the proposal to declare certain parts of Uttarakhand as eco-sensitive needs to be seriously considered, in view of the calamity in that state.

“As the minister for environment, I feel it is an ecologically fragile zone and the eco-sensitive zone proposal needs to remain in place,” Ms. Natarajan told reporters in Mumbai.

“The National Ganga River Basin Authority headed by the Prime Minister has recommended that there should be an eco-sensitive zone of 130 kms from Gomukh where the Alaknanda begins, to Uttarkashi.

“The proposal was accepted and draft notification was put in place in 2011. Later it became a final notification, therefore that notification is in force,” she said.

“At a time like this when so many thousands are stranded (in Uttarakhand), and rescue operations are going on, I think the first priority is rescue and relief, and after that, I believe very strongly that the eco-sensitive zone proposal is vital and important,” she said.

The Uttarakhand Chief Minister has a different point of view with regards to the notification as he feels it will come in the way of development in the state, she said.

“In a democracy, we have to discuss things. However, I believe this is not the time to bring those issues to the fore. I think all of us have to join hands to ensure relief and rescue and to make sure all people are safe,” Ms. Natarajan said.

“Lessons learnt (from the Uttarakhand calamity) are something we need to discuss later,” she added.

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