Development projects in the Sunderbans should be ecologically sustainable, R. K. Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said here on Sunday.

Asked about the sustainability of the single-largest tidal mangrove forest, Pachauri said, “As a society, we have to be responsible for that very fragile ecology. We have to be very careful about the economic activity that we introduce over there.”

He was in the city to address the students of IIM, Calcutta during its 48th Annual Convocation.

The West Bengal Government is believed to have chalked out plans to develop three eco-tourism parks in the Indian part of the delta region.

According to Pachauri, any developmental project in the region should be economically and ecologically acceptable.

“It (population of the region) has grown a lot. You have to be very comprehensive in assessing the new activities and infrastructure (development) happening over there,” he warned.

Sethusamudram project

Meanwhile, commenting on the Rs 25,000 crore Sethusamudram shipping channel project, Pachauri said: “We stand by what we said in our report that the project will not be economically and ecologically viable. Our conclusion is very robust. Now, it is for the Government to decide what it wants to do,” he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had appointed a committee headed by Pachauri following a Supreme Court suggestion to explore an alternative route for the shipping channel.

ayan.pramanik@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 7, 2013)
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