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Uttarakhand must be declared eco-sensitive zone: Jayanthi

Mumbai, June 20, 2013, DHNS: 1:52 IST
Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan, on Wednesday said, “it is time proposals to declare fragile regions like Uttarakhand as eco-sensitive zones in the wake of the calamity be taken seriously.”

“I personally feel even as minister for environment, it is an ecologically fragile zone and the eco-sensitive zone proposal needs to be implemented faithfully and stringently,” the minister told reporters here.

“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 river originates, to Uttarkashi.

“The proposal was accepted and draft notification issued in 2011. Later it became a final notification, therefore that notification is in force,” she said, “now with so many thousands of pilgrims stranded (in Uttarakhand), and rescue operations going on in full swing... I think our first priority is to focus on rescue and relief operations..., and only after that in which I believe very strongly, eco-sensitive zone proposal which is vital and important be taken up as top priority,” she said.

However, the minister took a dig at the chief minister of Uttarakhand, stating: “ He (CM) feels that the notification will come in the way of development... Lessons learnt (from the Uttarakhand calamity) is something we can discuss later... in a democracy we have to first discuss the issue, but then this is not the time to bring those issues to fore; right now we have to ensure relief and rescue operations go smoothly and make sure that people are safe."

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