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Centre urged for proactive agenda on environment

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On the eve of World Environment Day, an environmental think tank Wednesday presented its action plan and urged the central government to initiate proactive and positive agenda for environmental change.

"We need to move beyond the rhetoric of environmental protection to implementing a tough action plan for change and this is what we want the government to do," said Sunita Narain, director general of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

"It is important that the new government has a proactive and positive agenda for environmental change," she said.

The CSE's Environment and Development Agenda lists issues like air pollution, water resources, environmental clearances, public health, renewable energy etc.

Listing solutions to some of the environmental perils, the CSE asked the government to implement a favourable taxation policy for promoting clean fuels like CNG and introduce a tax on diesel vehicles.

In addition, the use of personal vehicles should be discouraged by introducing higher taxes and the urban reform agenda used for higher parking charges.

To curb the rising pollution levels in rivers, the central government should force state governments into making ecological flow mandatory in all stretches of a river while it should aggressively implement the national sanitation programme, it said.

An independent body to grant green clearances related to environment, forests, coastal and wildlife should be set up so that decisions are taken after understanding the overall impact of projects.

"He (Modi) said that there was need to build toilets first and temples later. He should deliver on his promises now," Narain said.

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