Looks like ecological concerns do not matter at all to Maharashtra. More so as the state government’s own study concedes that many rivers flowing across the state are polluted beyond measure. Who doesn’t remember the image of a dead buffalo in a polluted water resource in Taloja. Maharashtra’s scant regard for environment can’t get starker than this. Union Minister Jairam Ramesh’s opposition to the proposed Navi Mumbai Airport on environmental concerns may just be the tip of the iceberg. What’s startling is the state’s own study has conceded that rivers flowing in 300 villages, 14 Municipal Councils and 3 Municipal Corporations are polluted beyond measure. Union Minister Jairam Ramesh’s purported snub of the state government just shows the manner in which sensitive ecological issues are being handled here. Rampant conversion of agricultural land, massive and irreparable destruction of mangroves and lackadaisical approach in enforcing its own rules have all been dogging the state for quite some time now. Worse still, a recent study has highlighted how a majority of state rivers are grappling with toxic elements, thanks to unchecked flow of chemicals like this one in Taloja. It’s because the state is not taking ecological concerns seriously that today all rivers in the state are polluted. However the Union Environment Ministry has become aware how careless Maharashtra is about the environment and that it is why many a times in the past few months, the Centre has been stepping in to stop damage to ecology in the state. Question is “Is Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s government listening to Union Minister Jairam Ramesh’s concerns?” With bureau inputs – Nilofar Shaikh for NMTV News.
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