A high-level working group set up to advise the government on the recommendations of the Madhav Gadgil Committee on the Western Ghats has proposed protection of 90 per cent of the region's 'natural landscape' as ecologically sensitive area, but suggested permission of select activities in the fragile eco system.
The Western Ghats is a biological treasure trove that is endangered, and it needs to be ''protected and regenerated, indeed celebrated for its enormous wealth of endemic species and natural beauty,'' the high-level working group appointed by the union ministry of environment and forest says in its report.
The working group, however, has moved away from the suggestions of the expert panel, which had recommended a blanket ban on human activities in the environmentally sensitive zone, and instead suggested an approach consisting of guidelines for sector-wise activities, which would be permitted in the ecologically sensitive zones.
The 10-member working group headed by Planning Commission member Dr K Kasturirangan and consisting of environmental experts and other professionals today presented its report on the Western Ghats to minister of state for environment and forests Jayanthi Natarajan.
The working group was constituted to advise the government on the recommendations of an earlier report by a committee, `Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel', led by eminent ecologist Madhav Gadgil.
The WGEEP had recommended that the entire Western Ghats should be declared an ecologically sensitive area. It had suggested a three-level categorigation of the Ghats where regulatory measures for protection would be imposed and had recommended the establishment of a Western Ghats Ecology Authority for management.