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Panel to seek feedback on green tag for wildlife corridor (Nov)

The Times of India,Mumbai,  1st November,2013
Correspondent : Clara Lewis,
MUMBAI: The state government has set up a four-member committee to get views and comments of stakeholders on declaring the Sawantwadi-Dodamarg wildlife corridor as an ecologically sensitive zone.
The committee comprises the chief conservator of forests (Kolhapur), collector (Sindhudurg), chief agricultural officer (Sindhudurg) and deputy forest officer (Sawantwadi). The committee must submit its report within a fortnight. There are 22 villages in the wildlife corridor. The Union ministry of environment and forests recently accepted the Dr K Kasturirangan high-level working group (HLWG) committee report on the Western Ghats.
The HLWG had recommended that except the wildlife corridor, the moratorium on mining in the rest of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg district can be lifted. The moratorium now applies only to Khed, Chiplun, Sangameshwar, Lanja and the Rajapur talukas of Ratnagiri, and Kankavli, Sawantwadi, Dodamarg, Deogad, Vaibhavwadi and Kudal talukas of Sindhudurg.
D Stalin, director of the NGO Vanshakti that had first highlighted the government's intention to sanction 49 mines in the wildlife corridor said the consultations were an attempt to subvert the orders of the Bombay high court that had already directed the government to declare the area as an ESZ by December end.
When the ecological importance of the corridor has been established where is the question of public consultation? This is probably being done as the instance of the mining lobby,'' he said.
Sumaira Abdulali, convenor, Awaaz Foundation, who filed the petition to declare the area as an ESZ said the state government in its affidavit before the Bombay high court had conveyed that it wants to declare the wildlife corridor as an ESZ. The resolutions of each of the 22 gram sabhas asking the area be declared as ESZ was also with the government. If they wish to do it as an academic exercise they are welcome to do it,'' she said.