Centre mulls stringent law to protect biodiversity hotspots

Centre mulls stringent law to protect biodiversity hotspots


Announcing this here today, Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said the Ministry is holding talks with state governments to bring in the law as tourism activities -- leisure tourism or religious tourism -- have an "adverse impact" on their biodiversity and ecological balance.

"I am determined to protect the ecology since unbridled tourism is disturbing the balance," he said when his attention was drawn to widespread damage caused by heavy rain and resultant landslips in Nilgiris district last week.

The minister observed that poaching of tigers has become a serious issue and said the Ministry decided to amend the Wildlife Act to make punishment for such crimes very stringent, on the lines of Foreign Exchange and Money Laundering Act.
India's tiger population is around 1,200 to 1,400. Of the 37 tiger reserves across the country, "nine are in good shape, 12 are satisfactory and remaining 16 in precarious condition", he said.

On non-clearance of Neutrino Observatory project mooted at Sinkona in Nilgiris, he said the Ministry took the decision only after hearing all arguments and examining a report from a technical expert.

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