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"You can know the names of a bird in all languages of the world,but when you are finished ,
You will know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird.....
So let`s look at the bird and see what it`s doing --that`s what counts.
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-Nobel Laureate Richard P Feynman(1918-1988)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Colour codes for Ghat regions

Vazhachal forest falls in red zone
Colours assigned on the basis of
biodiversity value

Each area assessed for eight ecological parameters

KOCHI: The Vazhachal forest of Kerala, along with other high-value biodiversity areas in the Western Ghats, will be categorised as red-zone areas by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel.

The panel has finalised red, yellow, blue, and green colour codes for various regions of the Ghats based on the biodiversity value.

Each area was assessed for eight ecological parameters and those which scored above five were included in the red zone. All Shola forests will come under this zone.

The national parks and other protected areas will be in the green zone. In the yellow category, industrial activities will be permitted in a regulated manner.

While fixing the colour code, the views of the stakeholders were considered and available literature perused, besides the panel carrying out its own evaluation, panel sources said.

The panel assessed all the areas using a common yardstick and no special consideration was given to any area. It attempted to broadly categorise the zones leaving the finalisation job to the proposed Western Ghats Ecology Authority, a member said.

The expert team has reached a consensus not to permit any wood-based and polluting industries in the red zone. Projects that may cause serious ecological imbalances will not be allowed in the area. The projects that support the livelihood of tribal people and other local communities will be promoted in all the zones. The panel was guided by the philosophy that there should not be any relocation or eviction of people following the categorisation of the Ghats region.

Controversial projects

The panel will submit its views on the Athirappilly hydroelectric project in Kerala, mining activities in the eco-sensitive Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri areas of Maharashtra and Goa and the Gundiya hydel project of Karnataka, sources said.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest had earlier sought the views of the panel on these controversial projects following the ecological concerns raised by stakeholders and environmentalists.

Panel report

The panel's recommendations on these projects will be submitted to the Ministry before June 30.

A detailed report on these issues will be included in the final report to be submitted in August. Under the earlier schedule, the panel was to submit its report by June-end.

The views of the panel on the Athirappilly project have become more or less insignificant since Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh had reiterated that the project could not be permitted considering its ecological impacts, a panel member said.

K.S. Sudhi

The report published in The Hindu dated 24-6-2011

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