It is estimated that extreme climate events will consume 33 per cent biodiversity of the Western Ghats. In this scenario, maintaining the ecological balance of this pristine mountain range becomes paramount
However, just about one-third of the Western Ghats, which passes through six states, including Goa, has been notified as an ecologically sensitive zone (ESZ) in a fresh notification
The fresh draft pegs the total ESZ demarcation at 57,000 sq km, which falls much short of the about 60,000 sq km recommended in 2013 by the Kasturirangan committee
Karnataka leads the proportion of Western Ghats ESZ notification with 20,668 sq km, followed by Maharashtra (17,340 sq km) and Tamil Nadu (6,914 sq km).
The fresh draft notification has proposed that 99 Goan villages covering 1,461 sq km be declared as ESZ. In 2020, the state government requested the Centre to drop 30 villages from these 99
The Union Environment Ministry has sought objections and suggestions to the draft notification within the next 60 days | Picture Courtesy: UNSECO