Kerala to demand relaxation in SC order of eco-sensitive zones around forests

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Representational image | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Kerala Forest Minister A. K. Saseendran said that the State government will legally deal with the recent Supreme Court order mandating 1 km eco-sensitive zone around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

Speaking to the media here on Monday, the minister said that the apprehensions of the public about the new directive was justifiable considering the circumstances in Kerala, and that the State government would take action in this matter within a week.

He also brushed aside the allegations that the State government and the Central government were hand-in-hand in the case of the recent Supreme Court ruling and pointed out that the court has laid out provisions for relaxation in the distance if public interest was involved.

‘Transition’ zones

It was on Friday that the Supreme Court came out with the directive that every protected forest, national park and wildlife sanctuary across the country should have a mandatory eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of a minimum 1 km starting from their demarcated boundaries.

These zones are supposed to be a ‘shock absorber’ or transition zones from areas of high protection to those involving lesser protection. No kind of construction or mining is allowed in this zone and the Chief Forest Conservators are to submit a report on any ongoing construction in such zones, within three months.

Uproar in Kerala’s highlands

However, there has been a wide uproar in the upland regions of Kerala against this, especially Idukki where there are densely populated areas within the said 1 km distance.

The Forest Minister said that the State government will approach the empowered committee and Central government to communicate the apprehensions of the state in this regard. He advised the public to refrain from creating unnecessary fear and added that the State was ready to hold talks with any one on this issue.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2022 7:35:21 am |