Reiterating his commitment of restricting mining to protect wildlife, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday criticised a report by ecologist Madhav Gadgil on preserving the biodiversity of Western Ghats for not providing an alternative to fuel wood.
Chavan said while releasing a coffee-table book ‘Wild Maharashtra’ that the issues related to mining are among the most important factors while discussing wildlife conservation. “The only thing that has stopped these mines from getting approval is the moratorium imposed by the ministry of environment & forests. We have issued instructions to identify eco-sensitive zones where mining will be restricted.”
He said that the state has examined the report of the Gadgil panel and has also discussed it with people from the region.
“We have identified the need for alternative sources of green and sustainable energy, like wind and hydro power, which the Gadgil panel has not examined in context of demand and supply of energy in the forest regions where mining is proposed. The panel has not suggested an alternative to fuel wood.”
“Similarly, site-specific resources unique to the region will need to be developed with full environmental safeguards and pollution mitigation measures. In this way, we are trying to safeguard state’s diverse cultures and customs derived from its varied ecosystems and biodiversity,” the CM said.
The book, co-authored by wildlife activists Bitu Sehgal and Lakshmy Raman, talks about forest conservation issues, forest management, eco-tourism in the state, and lists contacts of rest houses.