By B N KUMAR
The Minister assured that all concerns raised by environmentalists will be addressed.
NAVI MUMBAI: In a Diwali gift, the Maharashtra Government has agreed to review infrastructure projects that are causing environmental harm while working on mangrove tourism projects in Uran.
Some projects which have been approved by the previous government long ago need to be reviewed as they are in conflict with the environment, Guardian Minister for Raigad district Aditi Tatkare said in an exclusive interview to Newsband, Navi Mumbai’s daily.
She assured that all concerns raised by environmentalists will be addressed. The issues have already been taken up with the Chief Minister and the Deputy CM, Aditi said.
The minister however said she does not want to send an impression that outside investment in Raigad district will be opposed. “But,” she said categorically that “we need to strike balance between development and environment.”
In her video call interview, Newsband editor Varda Sharma asked the minister pointedly about environmentalists’ complaints against destruction of mangroves and wetlands in the name of infrastructure projects.
Environmental groups NatConnect Foundation and Shri Ekvira Aai Pratishtan have been campaigning to to save mangroves and wetlands of Uran from destruction under the guise of development.
Aditi said she was aware of the issues and the need to protect eco-sensitive zones.
On eco-tourism she said the idea of mangrove parks will be pursued to promote boat rides on Kerala backwater tourism pattern.
Raigad district has ample scope for development of tourism, she said and disclosed that two beaches – Divyagar and Varsoli – have been identified for development. Basically, the government will focus on creating facilities so that tourists can spend a couple of days at these destinations.
Asked about extending the benefits of Blue Economy and mangrove-based economy, Aditi admitted that the fishing community interests will have to be protected. The community has been badly hit by climatic changes and cyclones. Basic logistics like jetties have to be strengthened and fishing conservation in mangroves has to be taken up.
The government will also focus on long-term measures in consultation with the Centre, she said.