Kerala submits new proposal for Wayanad sanctuary eco-zone

The State government has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to declare an extent of 88.21 square kilometres around the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary as eco-sensitive zone (EZ).

According to a draft notification published on January 28 this year, an extent of 3.4 km around the boundary of the sanctuary had been notified as its EZ.

The EZ, according to the draft notification, covered an area of 118.59 sq km, of which 99.5 sq km is outside the sanctuary that includes 8.89 sq km of Thirunelly Reserve Forest of north Wayanad and 17.67 sq km of the vested forest of the Chedelayath Range of south Wayanad forest division.

The remaining 19.09 sq km constitutes the revenue villages that fall within the sanctuary. These include Thirunelly, Thrishilery Pulpally, Irulam, Kidanganad, and Noolpuzha villages. As many as 29 enclosures inside the sanctuary also fall within the EZ.

The sanctuary, spread over an area of 344.53 sq km in the Wayanad Wildlife Division, is a component of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (5,520 sq km) and is a vital component of the Elephant Reserve No.7 of south India.

Public protest

A strong public protest had been raised against the notification. The Wayanad District Panchayat and several block panchayats had passed resolutions against it. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and former Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala had sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to repeal the draft notification, stating that it would affect the farmers living in densely populated areas coming under the proposed notified areas.

The State government has now submitted a revised draft by reducing the EZ to 88.21 sq km after excluding the human settlements on 30 sq km, Warden S. Narendra Babu told The Hindu.

All the private properties outside the sanctuary have been excluded from the proposal, Mr. Babu said.

The 88.21 sq km includes 69.12 sq km area of the two territorial forest divisions and 10.09 sq km area of the enclosures inside the sanctuary, he added.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 12:54:32 AM |

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