'Issue final notification on W Ghats by March 2020'

An MoEF officer, who appeared before the tribunal, said that they have compiled the data furnished by the governments of the states that fall in the Western Ghats and the same has been sent to a high-level working group. Photo/AFP

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to issue final notification identifying the eco-sensitive areas in the  Western Ghats by March 31, 2020.

Hearing a petition by Goa Foundation, an NGO, on delay in execution of K Kasturirangan Report on the Western Ghats, the green tribunal, headed by Justice Adarsha Kumar Goel, warned that the tribunal would pass an order withholding salary of the officials concerned of MoEF, if the ministry failed to honour the direction. 

Tribunal also expressed unhappiness over not honouring its September 2018 order, which directed the MoEF to issue the final notification within six months.

An MoEF officer, who appeared before the tribunal, said that they have compiled the data furnished by the governments of the states that fall in the Western Ghats and the same has been sent to a high-level working group. The working group is expected to submit its report by March 31, 2020. Following which 545 days will be given to public to submit their comments, he said.

After incorporating the public comments, the final notification will be issued, the officer said.

The Goa Foundation argued that the process of implementation of the recommendation of K Kasturirangan panel had begun in 2013, but till date, the notification on the same has not been issued. The MoEF, however, had three draft notifications -2014 2015 and 2017, the foundation said.

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