<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Environment and Water Resources ministries will submit a fresh joint affidavit before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) putting forth the Centre’s stand on the zonal master plan for Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) and the way ahead on development activities on river Ganga’s last “pristine” stretch, environment minister Anil Dave said on Saturday to DNA.”The combined affidavit will represent the stand of Union of India and not a particular ministry. We are consulting scientists and experts before we submit the affidavit. It will take some time.”The NGT is currently presiding over a plea seeking effective implementation of the 2012 notification that declared a 100 km stretch of 4,700 sq km between Gaumukh and Uttar Kashi as ESZ. The notification mandated creation of a zonal master plan in two years. It also prohibited construction of hydro power projects above 2 MW and other activities detrimental to the area’s ecology. But in August this year, the environment ministry said that it will consider tweaking the notification to allow 10 hydro power projects and mining in the ESZ. The move drew severe flak from the secretary of water resources ministry.The minister’s comments come in the wake of these events and the differences that cropped up between environment and water ministries on an earlier joint affidavit that was filed before the Tribunal on December 21, 2016. The affidavit, that clarified their stand on the Uttarakhand government’s ESZ zonal master plan, had termed it “disastrous”. The environment ministry though switched its stance later during a meeting with water resources ministry, convened as per NGT’s directions. On Thursday, in a NGT-directed meeting, the Uttarakhand government reiterated that they want to go ahead with 10 hydro power projects in the ESZ as they are non-polluting.

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Ministries to soon file new affidavit on Bhagirathi ESZ