Kolkata, June 30 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday urged NITI Aayog to form an inter-disciplinary team to initiate preparation for a masterplan for the Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage site wreaked by frequent cyclones.
In a letter to NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar, she pointed out that the Sunderbans is home to 50 lakh people and has the world's largest single block of mangrove forests, which had received the worst battering "in living memory" by Cyclone Amphan on May 20.
"I would like to request NITI Aayog to kindly commission the preparation of a Master Plan by an inter- disciplinary team of experts covering all aspects of socio-economic development of this ecologically fragile region," she said.
A central team had visited certain Amphan-ravaged villages in the Sunderbans to assess the extensive damages.
Banerjee said the latest trail of devastations reminded of the need for a "systematic review of the multiple challenge faced by the Sunderbans and calls for a scientifically designed development package for its protection and balanced socio-economic development."
Any review of the manifold challenges of Sunderbans will require a pool of experts drawn from the relevant disciplines as also technical assistance from international multilateral bodies. "It will also require funding support from the government of India," she said.
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