CM seeks reduction of Bannerghatta’s eco-sensitive zone

Cites stalling of development projects around park

The government has reiterated its stand to limit the Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of Bannerghatta National Park to 168.84 sq km, drawing the ire of environmentalists in the city. The ESZ provides a regulated buffer zone around protected areas.

In a letter dated February 1 to Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has stated that there is no change in the State government's stance in response to the request from the Union government to re-examine the possibility of retaining the original ESZ proposal with an area of 268.96 sq. km.

The Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change had published the draft notification of ESZ of 168.84, which was recommended for finalisation during the 33rd ESZ Expert Committee meeting held in February 2019. As reported previously in The Hindu, this represents a 37% reduction from the first draft notification issued in 2016 which had marked an ESZ of 268.9

However, in August 2019, the ministry had asked the State government to re-examine the possibility of retaining the original ESZ.

Justifying the government's stance, Mr. Yediyurappa, in the letter, stated that many development projects around the Bannerghatta National Park had stopped. The new ESZ will range from 100 metres (towards Bengaluru) to 1 kilometre (in Ramanagaram district) from the periphery of the protected area.

Environmentalist Vijay Nishanth said the move spells disaster for the city and exposes the BJP's hypocritical stance. “Three BJP MPs – Rajeev Chandrasekhar, P.C. Mohan and Tejasvi Surya – have written to the ministry against reduction of the ESZ. However, the CM has sought a reduction on the ground that development projects have come to a standstill,” he said and added that many citizens' groups struggled to put an end to illegal quarrying inside the ESZ. Signature campaigns to retain the original ESZ of 268.9 were also taken up.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 12:27:02 PM |

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