PANAJI: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that only 69 villages in the Western Ghats should be taken into consideration for designation as ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs).
Sawant said that 40 of the 99 villages that were chosen for declaration do not meet the requirements.
“I have told the team that if they want to add more villages, then they can add 10 more villages which are contiguous, and remove 40 villages,” stated Sawant.
Sawant further said that he has given the team instructions to outline the types of activities that are permitted in the villages after they have been designated ESAs by the Union government.
“I have instructed them to be unambiguous regarding, among other things, whether agricultural activities are permitted in certain villages, if they may repair their homes, and whether they can start building new homes,” he added.
Sawant said that the government won’t grant them no-objection certificates (NOCS) to engage in those activities if they aren’t permitted.
The draft notification was issued in July 2022 for the fifth time in the last eight years, inviting suggestions and objections on the identified 99 villages (ESAs), which cover 1,461 sq. km.
The notification has proposed to declare as ESAs 56 villages in Sattari taluka, five in Canacona taluka and 38 in Sanguem taluka.
In 2020, the state had written to the Centre requesting inclusion of only 30 villages, as against 99, in the final notification on the ESAs.