This refers to the statement by India’s Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate change, Prakash Javadekar,that his ministry is planning to finalize a policy which would enable states to clear defence projects falling within 100 km of Line of Actual Control (LAC) without approaching the Centre for environment clearances.
The LAC with China is spread over 4,000 kilometre and touches four states – Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim.The national security is important and should be respected but on the same time while giving clearances one should keep the importance of ecologically fragile area into consideration. Ecological concerns cannot be summarily dismissed and projects must go through due environment examination. Himalayas and the forests along the border feed and nourish our rivers, on which the life is depend and livelihood of nearly half of India’s population in the plains below.
Kashmir’s ecological balance had already been severely affected because of unabated environmental destruction over a period of nearly three decades.Rapid decline of wild animals in the Kashmir is clearly visible due to the extensive deforestation that disturbs the natural habitat for wildlife. With the presence of glaciers and pristine forests from where several rivers originate, the hundred kilometer zone from the LAC in these states is ecologically crucial.There is a need to conserve the biodiversity and wildlife in the state by not only the authorities but at an individual level.This type of decision will aggravate environmental problems.