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CM written to Centre requesting for inclusion of villages

Goa: In a major decision, chief minister Pramod Sawant has written to the Centre requesting for the inclusion of only 30 villages, as against the earlier proposed 99, in the final notification on the ecologically sensitive area (ESAs) of the Western Ghats. Sawant in a letter to the Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar said that the draft Western Ghats ESA notification sought to cover 99 villages — now 96 because 2 villages do not exist any longer and one is repeated — but that on closer study it was found that most did not meet the criteria laid under the Kasturirangan report

“The state government has found that only 30 villages broadly meet the criteria, which is that their maximum height should be 600m above mean sea level (MSL) with 20% of village area above MSL, and that they should be contiguous with the Western Ghats of Maharashtra and Karnataka,” Sawant said.

“As far as the height criteria is concerned, although these villages have a maximum height of more than 600m above MSL, only three strictly fulfil the criteria of having more than 20% of their area above MSL. Still we are recommending 30 villages to be included in the final notification for the Western Ghats ESA,” Sawant said.

The News24 Goa