'Forests must make way for development'

Speaking at a public consultation on National Mission for a Green India organised by the Centre for Environment Education, he said projects such as the Hubli-Ankola railway line and the Gundya Hydel project were essential for development. “Keeping in mind the economic growth targeted in the country, they cannot stop all activities but some diversion is needed,” he said.

Observing the need for the ministry to keep a flexible approach, he said the focus should be on a holistic approach towards maintaining the eco-system than on targets that have been identified.

The Hubli-Ankola railway line has been mired in controversy since its proposal. The Union Ministry of Forests is not ready to grant permission for cutting thousands of trees as sought by the Railways to execute the project. Due to this, the project has been progressing at a snail’s pace. The works up to Kalghagti have been completed.

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