Cadastral survey maps to be distributed to panchayats in ESA villages

The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) is gearing up for the task of fine-tuning the territorial extent of the 123 villages identified as Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs) by the High Level Working Group (HLWG) led by K. Kasturirangan for the conservation of Western Ghats.

The board is preparing to distribute cadastral-level survey maps to the panchayat-level committees entrusted with the field verification of ESA maps.

Printing on

An official pressnote quoting Oommen V. Oommen, chairman, KSBB, said the cadastral maps procured by the Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre (KSREC) from the Survey Department were being printed for distribution to the panchayat committees.

Each panchayat in the 123 villages would be provided with a physical copy of the cadastral map running into several sheets, along with a soft copy on a CD and guidelines for verification.

Field-level data

The field-level data would be copied onto the survey sheet on the scale 1:5000. The committees would be required to mark the forest areas, grasslands, shrubs, granite, water bodies, laterite and sandy grounds, rivers, streams, channels and ponds, human settlements, and farmlands and plantations in separate colours.

The committees had been directed to plot the survey numbers and land use in Excel sheets.

The maps and Excel sheets approved by the panchayat committees would be validated by the district-level and State-level committees constituted to verify the ESAs.

The pressnote said the maps and CD of seven villages in Thiruvananthapuram district could be collected from the KSBB office in the city on producing a letter with the seal of the panchayat president or secretary. The maps and CD of 11 villages in Idukki and one village in Ernakulam would be sent to the District Collectors by Sunday for distribution to panchayats.

KSBB directive

KSBB has directed all the 19 villages to return the amended maps by April 19.

Prof. Oommen said the cadastral maps of the rest of the villages were expected to be ready for distribution to panchayats by Sunday.

Draft report

Last month, the KSREC had published a draft report exempting 3,247.85 sq km of human settlement and agricultural land from the territorial extent of ESAs spread over 123 villages.

Based on geospatial analysis of the land use, the draft report had revised the ESA to 9,659.03 sq km, against the 13,108 sq km demarcated by the HLWG.

The KSBB was entrusted with the job of fine-tuning the maps after the government, faced with stiff resistance from the residents in the 123 villages, promised to exempt all human settlements from the ESAs.

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