The Tamil Nadu Government has objected to the Centre’s plan to create Western Ghats Ecology Authority, as it intrudes on the State Government’s authority and adversely affects ecological governance.

In a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa said such an authority at the national level as suggested by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, “will only erode the authority of the State Government and create an unnecessary layer of authority in the name of conservation.” For these reasons, the “proposed Authority is totally unnecessary, both in terms of federal principles and in terms of ecological governance needs.”

The State Government has sent its detailed views on the issue separately to the Environment and Forests Department to the High Level Working Group headed by Dr K. Kasturirangan.

Such an authority will only create “another redundant super body at the national level” to take on and perform functions of State Institutions in agriculture, forestry, environment and other sectors. It will be an “appellate body with the authority to give directions to the State Governments.”

Land comes under the State List under the Constitution of India, she said. Any attempt by the Government of India to assume powers to regulate policy with regard to land use, developmental activities under various sectors and power to approve projects, issue directions in the name of environment, is uncalled for and can only be viewed as an encroachment on the sovereign powers of the State Governments.

balaji.ar@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on March 15, 2013)
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