Under fire for reduced green cover in DP,corporators to take final call

Only six corporators and a member secretary to have voting rights on panel

Written by Ajay Khape | Pune | Published:July 3, 2013 3:12 am

Corporators,who have been facing criticism for the reduced reservation of green cover in the draft development of Pune city,have reason to cheer. Now,they will have their way in deciding issues relating to bio-diversity under PMC jurisdiction.

This comes close on the heels of the State Bio-diversity Management Board removing the confusion about appointing members on the Biodiversity Management Committee that will have six corporators and the municipal commissioner on board.

The corporators and the civic chief will have voting rights,while the remaining 14 experts would be members without any voting rights,limiting them to solely providing technical support.

The Biological Diversity Act,2002,stipulates setting up of Biodiversity Management Committee with experts on board.

The committee would be responsible for registering and documentating bio-diversity with focus on conservation. This would include details of local animal breeds and plant species.

“The confusion over appointing members on the bio-diversiy management committee has been cleared,and corporators nominated from the general body will be members of the committee,” said municipal secretary Sunil Parkhi.

He said there was confusion over setting up of the committee as the civic environment department interpreted the board direction that corporators have to nominate six experts from outside the general body on committee while the municipal secretary’s department said appointments were to be from among the corporators.

A clarification was sought on the issue,Parkhi said,adding: “Now it has been cleared that six corporators have to be appointed on the committee. We have started the process and would set up the committee by next month.”

As per the clarification,the committee will have 21 members — six corporators and a municipal commissioner,seven experts in the field,with necessary educational qualification,and seven ex-officio members of different departments.

PMC environment officer Mangesh Dighe said the elected representatives from the 152 member general body will have to nominate six corporators among themselves to be part of the committee. The municipal commissioner will be the seventh member and act as member secretary.

“Of the total 21 members,only six corporators and a member secretary will have the right to vote in the committee,while the rest will participate in discussions and provide their expert opinion,” he said.

The committee will work for conservation,sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity in the civic jurisdiction,Dighe said. “The committee would have to start with preparing a bio-diversity register of city,” he added.

Incidentally,the elected representatives have drawn criticism over pushing for infrastructure development on city hills and reducing the area of bio-diversity park in the city in the draft development plan.

Civic activist Vivek Velankar said that appointment of corporators with voting powers in the committee is going to hamper the objective behind setting up of such a committee. “We are aware of the corporators’ standpoint regarding bio-diversity park reservation in the city. If they are going to take a final call on proposals in this regard,then conservation of the city’s bio-divesity is likely to be in danger,” he said.

Velankar said the experts in advisory capacity in the committee will be a concern if appointments are done as per the choice of political leaders.

Sanskriti Menon,programme director at Centre for Environment Education (CEE),said the goal of the committee is clear,and it would not be easier for anyone to shift away from the goal.

“This is a new thing and we should think positively that there is a beginning towards mapping and conserving the bio-diversity. If the committee members try to ignore the scientific advise on issues of bio-diversity then there would be public outcry. Hence,there will always be a pressure on the committee members to be more scientific and objective for conserving the bio-diversity of the city,” she said.

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