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Decision on protected areas in Ladakh must balance on development, national security: LG Ladakh

LEH: Ladakh Lt Governor R K Mathur on Tuesday set a timeline of two months to frame guidelines for rationalisation of boundaries and final notification of protected areas in the union territory.

He also said any decision related to the region must balance developmental requirements, national security and biodiversity conservation.

Mathur directed officials concerned to get clarity from the Union Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change over the applicability of various environmental laws like the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for Ladakh.

"Ladakh is a crucial region with respect to national security, rights of indigenous communities, as well as critical biodiversity," Mathur said, chairing a meeting on the rationalisation of boundaries and final notification of protected areas of Ladakh at Raj Niwas here.

The meeting was attended by Advisor to LG Umang Narula, Secretary Law and Justice and Chief Conservator of Forests Preetpal Singh, Commissioner Secretary Forest, Ecology and Environment Rigzin Samphel and Chief Wildlife warden Sajid Sultan through video conferencing, an official spokesperson said.

In order to ascertain the requirements of land for protected areas, the Lt Governor instructed to take scientific and technical opinion from the Wildlife Institute of India.

He also directed officials to convene a meeting of the Wildlife Board to get inputs for the rationalisation of boundaries, settling of rights, the inclusion of critical habitats and exclusion of towns and villages from protected areas.

Mathur also emphasised on following the process of rationalisation of boundaries and settlement of rights as per due legal procedure that would entail inviting claims from all the stakeholders.

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