Mumbai NGO asks Jairam Ramesh to raise Aarey issue

Updated: Oct 13, 2019, 07:54 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

The Empower Foundation has written to the Chairman of Parliament's Standing committee on Environment and Forest, explaining reasons why the Aarey issue is of national importance, and has asked him to talk about it in the Parliament

Pic/Sameer Markande
Pic/Sameer Markande

Mumbai-based NGO Empower Foundation has written a letter to Jairam Ramesh, Chairman of Parliament's Standing committee on Environment and Forest, to help save Aarey. The NGO has appealed the former Environment Minister refers to Rule 276 by which the Aarey issue can be raised urgently as a special matter of national interest in the Parliament.

Members of the foundation had met Ramesh on September 17 when he visited Aarey. The presentation that they made provided evidence of the presence of 290 wildlife species, including leopards and four other wild species on International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.

It once again wrote to Ramesh on October 12, reminding him of his assured help in the matter. It also mentions that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had directed the State Forest Department on October 3 to protect the habitat of the leopards and highlighted that no action has been taken on that front. Even the forest department, wildlife conservation NGOs and rescue teams are being denied entry to the affected area to save the wildlife post cutting of trees.

Post the cutting, city-based NGOs that have been working to save the injured birds and wild animals in Mumbai and adjacent areas, have been wanting to visit the site as they fear that the bird nests might have been destroyed and some birds, injured. But animal ambulances have also been denied entry. The letter also highlights a particular section and rule for Standing Committees under the Chapter XXVI in Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha, by which they requested Ramesh to take up the matter urgently in the Parliament given its national importance.

According to Rule No. 276 in the Chapter XXVI, "A Committee may, if it thinks fit, make a special report on any matter that arises or comes to light in the course of its work which it may consider necessary to bring to the notice of the Speaker or the House, notwithstanding that such matter is not directly connected with, or does not fall within or is not incidental to, its terms of reference."

Sheetal Mehta, Secretary General, Empower Foundation, said , "Jairam Ramesh ji was very humble and forthcoming in understanding our representation on Wildlife Biodiversity of Aarey Forest and we look forward to his help in getting a site visit and also raise this matter of national importance in the Parliament. As an alumnus of IIT Bombay, he has seen Aarey closely, understands the importance of its biodiversity and had recently, visited the site and assured Mumbaikars his help as Chairman of the Parliament's Standing committee on Environment and Forest."

290
Wildlife species, including leopards and four other wild species, are on IUCNs Red List

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