Saturday, February 19, 2011

Can’t satisfy all demands of green activists: Jairam

Can't satisfy all demands of green activists: Jairam
Indian Express

Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh Thursday said it was not possible for him to satisfy all legitimate demands of environmentalists.

"You have to understand the pressures I work under..... it is a difficult balancing act," he said in his keynote address at the launch of the Saving Asia's Vultures from Extinction (SAVE) initiative at the World Wildlife Fund's office in New Delhi.

The minister cited the ropeway to Ambaji temple atop the Girnar mountain as an example of the difficulties of his job. Environmentalists had opposed the cable car project as the proposed route — which was later re-aligned — would go through Girnari Vulture nesting sites.

"The vulture people descended upon me," he said in a lighter vein to his audience which consisted of a number of eminent personalities on the subject. "But the ropeway was needed as that was the only way we could stop the abominable practice of humans carrying wealthy pilgrims on palanquins all the way to the top," he said.

He hinted at a more important role for state governments in preserving the environment. "Incentives for states must improve if they are to keep rivers clean and mountains pristine," he said.

Ramesh said conservation efforts should not be seen in isolation. "Start thinking of forests; stop thinking of the tiger. We wanted to get children interested in efforts to clean the Ganga; we used the Gangetic dolphin as a symbol... Reintroducing the cheetah is reclaiming our grasslands," he said.

Ramesh said his ministry would launch a major initiative for Gharial in a week.

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