Union Forest Ministry asks States to submit report before February 15

The Forest and Wildlife Department will work on demarcating ecologically sensitive zones around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the State as per directions of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).

V. Gopinath, Chief Wildlife Warden, told mediapersons here on Monday that the eco sensitive zones would be identified as per Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act as well as Rules 5 (1) of Environment Protection Rules.

The State government must submit its proposal in this regard to the MoEF before February 15. The demarcation process would begin soon with the active support of the public, Mr. Gopinath said. For the purpose, the State Wildlife Board had constituted three committees, representing the three forest circles in the State — northern, central and southern.

T.N. Prathapan, V.D. Satheesan, and Shamsudheen, MLAs, are the chairmen of the committees. They would interact with the public to form a consensus on the issue, Mr. Gopinath said.

If deadline is not kept

The MoEF had said that if the States did not submit site-specific proposals by February 15, it would declare 10-km area around wildlife sanctuaries and national parks of a State as eco-sensitive zones, he said.

Mr. Gopinath said the State government could submit proposals of the zones either by following the guidelines of the MoEF, declaring up to 10-km area around the sanctuaries and national parks as eco sensitive, depending on the peculiarities of each protected area, or by adhering to the directions of the Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court.

According to the latter, 2-km area around a sanctuary or a national park that is spread over 500 sq km would be identified as eco-sensitive zone. The zone would be 1 km for a sanctuary spread between 200 to 500 sq km; 500 metre for 100 to 200 sq km; and a 100-metre zone for a sanctuary under 100 sq km, he said.

The department was planning to submit a proposal to the State before February 15 after consultations with the public as the density of population was very high in the State, Mr. Gopinath said.

Conditions

As per the MoEF guidelines, commercial mining; setting up of industries causing pollution; commercial use of firewood; use or production of any hazardous substance; establishment of hydroelectric projects; and discharge of effluents and solid waste in natural water bodies or terrestrial area are prohibited. Moreover, activities such as wood felling; setting up of sawmills, hotels or resorts; and night traffic in the zone would be restricted.

In Kerala there are five national parks, three bird sanctuaries, 14 sanctuaries, and one community reserve.


  • Panels from three forest circles formed for process

  • Public to be consulted; team in Wayanad on January 22


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