Responding to the doubts raised by members of civil society over the proposed reduction in the eco-sensitive area of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and other sanctuaries in the state, the parliamentary standing committee said no change will be made to the law without their consent.
The committee, led by former union law and justice minister Ashwani Kumar, addressed the issues raised by the NGOs with regard to the rampant violation of the environment norms by the government in the name of development and arm-twisting by the builder lobby for building constructions and townships.
They raised issues pertaining to noise pollution, uprooting of mangroves, violations of the CRZ norms, among others. The members of the NGOs want the committee to retain the existing buffer zone to protect bio-diversity and save further destruction.
“We will not allow violation of the set rules and laws related to environment protection and the coastal regulatory zone notification. We have been getting complaints, but one should understand that every change and amendment proposed in Parliament will have to be routed through our committee. Although the report and the recommendations by the committee are not fully binding, there is a set precedent of serious note of our remarks,” a member of the committee said, on condition of the anonymity.
NGOs such as Hariyali, NIsarg Mitra, Paryavaran Dakshata Manch strongly opposed the Central government’s plan of reducing the buffer zone around the park. The ministry of environment and forest has given in-principle nod to the demarcation of the lesser eco-sensitive areas for 25 sanctuaries in the state. “We, however, did not get any firm assurance from the committee,” said a representative.
Kumar said, “Around 300 million people are expected to migrate to Indian cities in the next 25 years. So it is necessary to appraise ourselves about the state of affairs and take steps to ensure urban renewal. We have sought the written submission on the issues from members of civil society, and have asked the government to explain.”