Pune, India: The Western Ghats ecology expert panel, set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India has called for sustainable and inclusive development, stress on public trust doctrine and ‘polluter pays’ principle.
The panel adopted geospatial grid based approach for identification of ecologically sensitive areas whereby ecological sensitivity was scored. During the recent meeting of the panel, Chairman of the panel Madhav Gadgil stated that the panel will consider inputs from the local public and the proposals from non governmental organisations to demarcate ecologically-sensitive areas.
According to Gadgil, the panel proposes to classify the whole Western Ghats as an ecologically significant area. There would be different zones of ecological sensitivity, which would vary from zone of highest sensitivity to zone of low sensitivity. The nomenclature of the zones could be eco-sensitive core, ESZ1, ESZ2, ESZ3.
There would also be a section on management regimes to be adopted in Western Ghats. The management strategy would focus on conservation and efficient use of resources. The panel proposes to prepare development strategy for various sectors with respect to the eco-sensitive core, ESZ1, ESZ2, ESZ 3.
Gadgil added it would be meaningful to introduce threats as a variable in the geospatial grid methodology for calculating ecological sensitivity. As a first step, dams, highways, railways and mines could be depicted on the geospatial map.