Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Central Environment Minister is working in top gear

The central government will soon set up a national authority to enforce environmental laws, minister Jairam Ramesh said Wednesday.
“At the state environment and forest ministers’ meeting yesterday (Tuesday) in Delhi, there was a broad agreement on this aspect. We need an institutional set-up to enforce environmental laws and impose penalty for non-compliance,” Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh told reporters.

Ramesh said the government will circulate a discussion paper on the National Environmental Protection Authority (NEPA).

Earlier, speaking at a meeting on Management of Agro Biodiversity Hotspots in an Era of Climate Change, the minister said around 21 percent of the country’s geographical area is under forest cover.

“Of that, two percent is high density and 10 percent medium density forest area. The remaining is degraded forest cover,” he said.

The consultation meeting was organised by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation.

Ramesh said the challenge was to cut the degraded forest cover area and also improve the medium forest cover.