PIO: Information in relation to Report of High level Working Group of Western Ghats released by the Ministry of Environment & Forests has been uploaded on the official website - CIC: as all information has been provided, the appeal disposed of
The Complainant is present for videoconference at Khozikode. The Public Authority is represented by Mr. Amit Love, Dy. Director, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. The complaint is converted as appeal, as the appellant sought information by way of first appeal before the FAA.
2. The Complainant through his RTI application dated 15.04.2013 had sought for information in relation to Report of High level Working Group of Western Ghats released by the Ministry of Environment & Forests Viz
i) As per the report, NRSC had developed a scientific, objective and practical way of identifying Ecologicaly Sensitive Areas; is the methodology tested and approved by the scientific community?
ii) Why, instead of using natural boundaries, administrative boundary like Village was used in this scientific method?
iii) Why the list of the villages which come under the ESA not mentioned with the report, etc.
Having received no information within the prescribed period, the complainant preferred First Appeal. No FAA order is available. Claiming non furnishing of the information sought, the Complainant has approached the Commission U/S 18 of RTI Act.
3. Both the parties made their submissions. The respondent officer submitted that the report in two volumes, VolumeI and II of the High Level Working Group on Western Ghats, headed by Dr. Kasturi Rangan, was submitted to the Government, and was already uploaded on the official website – www.http//:envfor.nic.in, on 17-4-2013 and one can download them by clicking the window “Reports” and also the related Office Memorandums on the window “Orders”. As per the respondent officer, most of the questions asked by the respondent are self explanatory in nature. The appellant submitted that the farmers who are within the Western Ghats are facing the problem in cultivation, they are forced to migrate outside the Western Ghats. Regarding the concerns expressed by the farmers, the Government has already clarified the same in its OM dated 20-12-2013, which was also uploaded. Based on this OM, the Ecological Sensitive Areas are notified under the provisions of Environmental Protection Act. The appellant wanted to know how the Government is going to compensate the farmers/inhabitants in the Western Ghats who are affected by the Report. The respondent officer replied to the appellant that out of the 36 recommendations contained in the report, some recommendations talk about the compensation. On 13-11-2013, the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued directions under section 5 of the EP Act, demarcating the ecological sensitive areas, banning the operation of 5 categories of industries, which does not include Farming industry. The said details are available in the public domain. The State Government of Kerala expressed some apprehensions regarding the livelihood of the people, whose agricultural practices/activities will be affected by the notification dt. 13-11-2013. The Ministry of Environment has cleared these apprehensions of the Kerala Government by their letter dated 20-12-2013. Regarding demarcation of the ecologically sensitive areas, the Ministry brought a draft note for consolidation. The State Government of Kerala have already done demarcation and that is available in their public domain, under window “Biodiversity”. The Respondent officer also offered to clarify any further doubts of the appellant and he offered his Phone Number: 01124695315, on which the appellant can contact him for the same.
4. As all the information stand furnished to the appellant/complainant, the appeal is closed.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Sh. Binu Rose v. Ministry of Environment and Forests in File No.CIC/SA/C/2014/900033