Rane protests against eco-sensitive tag, threatens to resign
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Maharashtra Industries Minister Narayan Rane threatened to resign during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, protesting against the Centre's norms that prohibit development in eco-sensitive zones in his home district of Sindhurdurg in the Konkan region.
According to sources, Rane, in an outburst that lasted almost 10 minutes, slammed the Kasturirangan report, terming it as an impediment to development and growth. He reportedly complained that all development activities have come to a "standstill", and even basic work cannot be undertaken.
"What is the purpose of such laws which cannot enable growth in the region? I will ensure that not a single forest officer is allowed to step into my region. I will launch an agitation. I will resign. What is the use of staying and doing nothing for the people?" sources quoted Rane as saying.
"The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has taken a decision to tag certain parts of Konkan as eco-sensitive. It has directed the Maharashtra government to strictly adhere to the guidelines laid down for eco-sensitive zones. The forest officers are accordingly following the rules," replied Rane protests against Sindhudurg's eco-sensitive tag, threatens to quit State Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and other Cabinet ministers reportedly refrained from making any comments.
There are 192 villages in Konkan which have been categorised as eco-sensitive by the MoEF. Besides the Centre's ban on mining activities in these areas, several non-governmental organisations have demanded that more talukas — Sawantwadi and Doha in Konkan — be brought under the eco-sensitive category.
An official in the industries department said Rane has been consistently asking the Centre and state government to relax the strict norms in place for eco-sensitive zones in order to enable development work in the Konkan belt.
"Chavan himself has raised the matter related to ban on laterite stone mining in Konkan. But the MoEF wants us to first amend the laws and get court orders... We have our own amendment laws in place which have been placed before the courts. But the Centre needs to take those into cognizance," said a senior officer in the state environment ministry.