All You Wanted To Know About Western Ghats?

Key Recommendations

  • Western Ghats regions of each state are treated separately
  • Existing Protected Areas are treated as a fourth separate category
  • ESZ1, ESZ2 and ESZ3 status is assigned only to grids outside existing Protected Areas
  • ESZ1 status is assigned only to such grids as have a score at least equaling, or higher than the lowest scoring grids falling within existing Protected Areas
  • Detailed information such as localities of origin of rivers, laterite plateaus, and localities where local communities have expressed a strong interest in conservation can be used to decide on demarcation of ecologically sensitive localities
  • The extent of existing Protected Areas plus ESZ1 will not normally exceed 60% of the total area
  • The extent of area covered by existing Protected Areas plus ESZ1 and ESZ2 together will be around 75%.
  • The extent of ESZ3 will normally be around 25% of the total area
  • No new dams based on large scale storage be permitted in Ecologically Sensitive Zone 1
  • Since both the Athirappilly and Gundia hydel project sites fall in Ecologically Sensitive Zone 1, these projects should not be accorded environmental clearance.

 Western Ghats Boundary

As per the boundaries identified by the WGEEP, the Western Ghats stretches to a length of 1490 km from Tapi Valley in the north to Kanyakumari in south. With an area of approximately 129037 sq km, it stretches to a width of 210 km in Tamilnadu and  narrows to as small as 48 km in Maharashtra.


Geographical Attributes Of The Western Ghats


Northern limit 8019’ 8‛ – 210 16’ 24‛ (N)
Eastern limit 720 56’ 24‛ – 780 19’ 40‛ (E)
Total area 129037 sq km
End-to-end length 1490 km
Min width 48 km
Max width 210 km

Kasturirangan Team To Examine The Report

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has constituted a High-level Working Group to examine the Western Ghats ecology expert panel report. The nine-member group, headed by eminent space scientist and Planning Commission member K Kasturirangan, will examine the Madhav Gadgil committee report. The working group will examine the expert panel report in a holistic and multidisciplinary fashion keeping in view the comments received from the concerned state governments, central ministries and other stakeholders.

The working group will also examine other related aspects such as preservation of precious biodiversity, needs and aspirations of the local and indigenous people, sustainable development and environmental integrity of the region and climate change. It will also study the implications of Centre-State relations with respect to conservation and sustainable development of Western Ghats.

Prof C R Babu (Delhi University), J M Mauskar (Ex-Special Secretary, MoEF), Prof Kanchan Chopra (Ex-Director, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi), Jagadish Kishwan (Additional Director General of Forests (Wildlife), Darshan Shankar (Chairman, Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Bangalore), Sunita Narain (Director, Centre for Science and Environment, P S Roy (Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun and Ajay Tyagi (Joint Secretary, MoEF) are the members of the committee.

Indrani Chandrasekhran (Advisor, Environment and Forests, Planning Commission) will be the special invitee.

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