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Indian Biodiversity ministry (MoEF&CC) sells its soul and chooses minerals over biodiversity, despite red flags

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What’s the use of having a ministry – MoEF&CC – that takes care of biodiversity when it refuses to act? In this case it is all about a railway track.

A project to double a railway track in the Western Ghats. It was cleared by the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL). It was done on January 5, 2021 despite warnings against it by government-appointed experts.

The Ghats are one of eight ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity in the world. A committee appointed by MoEF&CC, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change raised concerns. The concerns are about clearing the project in one of ‘the last remaining wildernesses’ in the Western Ghats.

The committee was appointed to clear the projects in Protected Areas (PAs) of Goa and Karnataka. National parks, wildlife sanctuaries, conservation and community reserves are considered PSs.

Documents assessed by Down to Earth (DTE) have revealed the desperation for clearing projects. Projects in PAs including this one.

DTE tried to speak to the officials concerned on the reasons the project was approved. But did not get a response.

The original article was published by Down to Earth on April 19, 2021.