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A NATIONAL environment survey whose findings could be presented to Parliament annually has been proposed at the first meeting of the National Environmental Council. The environmental survey could be based on the pattern of the national economic survey, suggested Union minister of state for environment and forests Kamal Nath.
The survey could become a viable method of projecting the extent of environmental deficit, along with strategies to counter it, he said at the meeting held in Delhi On April 25-26.
The 112-member council, chaired by the prime minister, was recently constituted to function as a think tank on important environment policy issues. The council decided to meet twice a year and constitute subject-specific sub-committees.
But the meeting did not conclude without some stormy moments. Confederation of Indian Industry chairperson S K Bhargava stirred assembled members by recommending that degraded forest areas be handed over to industry to nurture and produce their required raw materials.
Orissa chief minister Biju Patnaik launched into a scathing criticism of the Union government's environment policy, saying, "Why don't you leave it to the states to manage their environment and development?" Environmentalist Bittu Sehgal felt that the new economic policy was threatening the progress made on the environment- conservation front.