The Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Mandya district, located close to Srirangapatna and about 16 km from Mysuru, is one step closer to having an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) around it to pave way for greater protection.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has issued a draft notification for the ESZ and the public has 60 days to file objections, if any. The objections will be studied by the Forest Department, which will attempt to resolve them before issuing the final notification.
Describing the draft notification as a positive step towards the conservation of the sanctuary, Deputy Conservator of Forests Kamala Karikalan told The Hindu that the mandatory requirements under ESZ, including preparing the zonal master plan and constituting a monitoring committee, would be complied with.
The ESZ will be applicable to both the portions of the bird sanctuary — Ranganathittu, which comprises islands in the Cauvery river spread to an extent of 32.4 hectares near Srirangapatna — and the second portion in the village limits of Gendehosahally and Arakere village, spread over 34.65 hectares.
The notified ESZ for Ranganathittu varies from 0.5 km to 2.35 km from the boundary of the sanctuary, while the range is 0.35 km to 6 km from the boundary of the Gendehosahally part. In all, the ESZ is spread over 19.29 sq.km. and includes 19 villages spread over Pandavapura, Srirangapatna, T. Narsipur and Mysuru taluks.
Once finally notified, the government will be bound to take further measures to ensure that the land use pattern does not change and forests, horticulture areas, agricultural areas, parks and open spaces earmarked for recreational purposes are not converted into commercial or industrial spaces.
The draft notification also states that no new commercial hotels and resorts will be permitted within one km of the boundary of the ESZ / the protected area boundary (whichever is closer), except for temporary occupation and eco-friendly tourism activities.