Pune District Collector Vikas Deshmukh has issued orders to tehsildars asking them to implement Environment Ministrys notification banning mining,quarrying,construction of thermal plants and big building complexes in ecologically sensitive areas as identified by the Kasturirangan committee.
The directive will affect as many as 337 villages in nine talukas of Pune Ambegaon,Bhor,Haveli,Junnar,Khed,Maval,Mulshi,Purandar and Velhe. As per the directive,structures which have not sought environment impact assessment report after April 17 this year will not be given clearances.
Tehsildars will assess all the constructions as well as mining and quarrying activities in these villages, said the collector.
Of the 337 villages,37 are in Ambegaon taluka,56 in Bhor,4 in Haveli,32 in Junnar,22 in Khed,51 in Maval,66 in Mulshi,9 in Purandar and 60 in Velhe.
The Kasturirangan committee has recommended a ban on development activities in 60,000 sq km ecologically sensitive area spread over six states of Gujarat,Karnataka,Maharashtra,Goa,Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Districts of Maharashtra where the notification will be applicable are Ahmednagar,Dhule,Kolhapur,Nandurbar,Nashik,Pune,Raigad,Ratnagiri,Sangli,Sindhudurge,Satara and Thane.
The Centre decided to implement the Kasturirangan report recommendations on the Western Ghats and banned mining in ecologically fragile areas and restricted buildings to less than 20,000 sq ft in 123 villages mentioned in the report. However,the latest guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) are not applicable to those who were given permission before April 17.
As per the report,the biologically rich areas with some measure of contiguity are about 37 per cent of the Western Ghats. The area is considered to have high biological richness,low forest fragmentation,low population density and contain protected areas,world heritage sites and tiger and elephant corridors.
Due to unprecedented threats of development on the natural landscape of the Western Ghats,the committee has recommended a no-tolerance policy with respect to highly interventionist and environmentally damaging activities like mining or polluting industries.
The ban restricts activities like mining for stones and sand,atomic energy projects,construction up to 20,000 sq m or more,development of townships up to 50 hectares. This in turn would affect all the proposed townships which were were submitted to the ministry but were not given a green signal, said a town planning department official.
The MoEF has prepared a list of industries who have been denied permission to establish set ups along the Western Ghats. The ban is to be implemented with an immediate effect and will be applicable until further order,the notification said. Action will be taken under the provision of the Environment Protect Act 1986,against those flouting norms,it added.