Kerala

9.8 km around Silent Valley becomes eco-sensitive zone

The Centre has notified 9.8 km around the boundaries of Silent Valley National Park as an eco-sensitive zone. A notification issued on Wednesday says that 148 sq km area will be eco-sensitive and several new restrictions on human activities will be imposed in the area.

Silent Valley officers were, however, not aware of the notification. They say it is too early to comment on the impact of the notification.

The State government will now have to prepare a zonal master plan in two years for implementing the eco-sensitive zone. Apart from local people, departments of environment, forest and wildlife, agriculture, revenue, urban development, tourism, rural development, irrigation and flood control, local bodies, and public works will have to be consulted in the preparation of the master plan.

The master plan will demarcate all existing human activities, including settlements and agricultural lands. There will be fresh restrictions on construction, quarrying, air pollution, effluent discharge, and vehicular traffic. Forest officers say it is too early to describe how exactly it will be.

The notification says there will be a ban on mining, quarrying, and setting up of pollution causing industries and new hydroelectric projects. There will be restrictions on hotels and resorts and other construction activities and felling of trees.

A monitoring committee under the chairmanship of the Palakkad Collector will have supervisory powers to ensure compliance with the restrictions in the eco-sensitive zone. The committee will have a tenure of three years.

The Silent Valley National Park is one of the most popular biodervisity-rich forests in the country. A large part of Silent Valley still remains untouched by human beings. It has a large variety of flora and fauna. As many as 17 species of its flora had been red-listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 3:43:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/98-km-around-silent-valley-becomes-eco-sensitive-zone/article32985394.ece

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