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Tenders reissued for mining in green corridor in Maha
Clara Lewis | TNN | Dec 14, 2015, 11.12 PM IST
MUMBAI: The Directorate of Geology and Mining (DGM) has invited tenders for mining iron ore in the eco-sensitive Digve-Banda village of Sawantwadi taluka in the coastal district of Sindhudurg.
While Digve is part of the Sawantwadi-Dodamarg wi-ldlife corridor, Banda, along with Digve, is on the list of 192 villages in Sindhdurg district that have been identified as eco-sensitive areas by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) following the report of the K Kasturirangan high-level working group. The filing of objections and suggestions before issuance of the final notification on eco-sensitive villages is under way.
TOI had in 2010 exposed how 49 mining leases had been issued in this wildlife corridor, the home of the tiger. Thereafter, then environment minister Jairam Ramesh had stayed mining leases, including the Digve-Banda one.
Sandeep Sawant, a resident of Asni village, along with D Stalin, director of the NGO Vanashakti, and Sumaira Abdulali of Awaaz Foundation, had filed a public interest litigation before the Bombay high court, which had stayed the cutting of trees in the wildlife corridor.
The corridor from Amboli to Mangeli village is spread over 35km, Sawant said, with 98 villages. "While Sawantwadi taluka has been included in the eco-sensitive zone, the more eco-sensitive and closer to the Anshi-Dandeli wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka, the Dodamarg taluka has been excluded from the eco- sensitive zone by the Kasturirangan committee,'' he said.
Sawant said the mining lobby backed off following the intervention of the Union environment ministry and high court, but in the last three years resurfaced in the area.
"The gram sabhas of 26 villages in the wildlife corridor passed a resolution in 2010, demanding that their villages be declared as eco-sensitive. Now only three villages in Sawantwadi and two in Dodamarg have passed the resolution. Six in Sawantwadi have sought a partial eco-sensitive zone tag. It only shows that easy money is flowing through the villages, which is very unfortunate," said Sawant.
Stalin said the government should have desisted from reissuing the tender as there is an HC stay and the villages are in the eco-sensitive list.
R S Kalamkar, director, DGM, said clarifications will be issued at the pre-bid meeting on December 21.
The Times of India
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RELATEDKEYWORDS:Western-Ghats | MOEF | Draft-Notification | Awaaz- Foundation | Awaaz
‘Draft notification opens Western Ghats to development’
TNN | May 7, 2014, 11.57PM IST
MUMBAI: Environmental NGO Awaaz Foundation has pointed out several problems in a draft notification on the Western Ghats issued by the ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) earlier this year.
The NGO, which had earlier petitioned the HC to declare the Sawantwadi-Dodamarg elephant corridor in Maharashtra an ecologically sensitive region, has filed a list of suggestions and objections with MoEF over the new draft notification.
"The draft notification leaves out Dodamarg and allows townships and harmful industries in ecologically sensitive areas," says Awaaz founder Sumaira Abdulali.
The objections red-flag the manner in which the draft notification reduces the area that needs to be protected from development and allows for slow encroachment of eco-sensitive zones. In Kerala, for instance, it will lead to the reduction of ecologically sensitive areas by 3,000 sq km, says Awaaz.
The NGO has spoken out against the diversion of forest land for any other purpose in an ecologically sensitive area. It has criticised the fact that the draft notification bans new industries in eco-zones, but does not mention shutting down existing industries.
Awaaz has opposed a section that permits the construction of building projects of up to 20,000 sq m built-up area and allows the development of new townships and expansion of existing townships up to an area of 1.5 lakh sq m.
It has objected to the monitoring of development projects being left with states. "Local politicians of state governments are often personally involved in projects that destroy biodiversity, such as mining, industries and (development of) townships. They are often also the centre of mafias that...harass those who 'interfere' in their illegal activities and have even murdered activists.... A monitoring mechanism reporting directly to MoEF needs to be set up to regulate activities in ESAs," says Awaaz.
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Sawantwadi-Dodamarg Wildlife Corridor
has been protected by an Order of the Court in Awaaz Foundation's public interest litigation.