In a move that could spark yet another controversy after Navi Mumbai airport project, the Environment Ministry has imposed a four-month moratorium on consideration of proposals in two nearby districts in the coastal Konkan region of Maharashtra.
The decision has been taken following various representations expressing concern relating to the environment impact and ecological degradation due to a large number of projects being proposed in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts, a recent official memorandum of the ministry has said.
"It is therefore necessary to take regional approach during appraisal of projects," the order said making it clear that the projects received after August 16 by the ministry for terms of reference and or environment clearance from these two districts will not be considered till December.
The matter regarding "developmental trends" in Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg were also discussed by the Western Ghats Panel set up for conservation, protection and rejuvenation of the fragile region of the Western Ghats.
The decision is likely to further aggravate strains between Maharashtra government and Environment Ministry which are presently at loggerheads over the issue of proposed Navi Mumbai airport project.
While the former has insisted on building the airport at Navi Mumbai to meet increasing traffic needs, the ministry had cited environmental concerns and denied permission for the project.