The proposed Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) for Arabithittu Wildlife Sanctuary situated in Hunsur taluk of Mysuru district will cover 20 villages around it, and final notification is expected in due course.
The Forest Department prepared a draft notification and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, has accepted it. The sanctuary harbours leopard, spotted deer, wild boar, Indian porcupine, Indian hare, common mongoose, fox, partridges, cobra, rat snakes and viper, and the landscape has dry deciduous and scrub forests. Besides, there is pressure of grazing on the sanctuary and hence, it was considered necessary to conserve and protect it by declaring it an eco-sensitive zone.
Kamala Karikalan, Deputy Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Mysuru, said she will submit her comments on MoEF’s observations in a day or two and submit it to the Centre, after which the final notification is expected to be published. “But for a minor change in the representation in the ESZ, there is no modification in what we have proposed,” she added.
The draft has included 20 villages coming in a radius of 0.015 km to 3.25 km and the ESZ area is spread over 39.76 sq km. The villages are Bolanahalli, Shravanahali, Lakkur, Rayanahalli, Hagaranahalli, Shanubhoganahalli, Maraduru, Rangaihnakoppalu, Kuppekolaghatta, Hosahalli Kaval, Mallinathapura, Bilikere, Bannikuppe, Jeenahalli, Dallalu, Gagenahalli, Madahalli, Halepura, Madahalli Kaval, and Thippur.
Incidentally, the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, acquired 718.39 acres of revenue land adjacent to the sanctuary in 1990s and fenced it. This area does not come under the ESZ regulations.
Zonal master plan
Once the final notification is issued, a zonal master plan for the eco-sensitive zone area has to be prepared within two years in consultation with stakeholders and other departments, including forest, urban, tourism, revenue and agriculture.
Besides, there are certain activities which will be banned in the ESZ once the final notification is issued.
It has been stipulated that until the master plan is approved, development of existing tourism activities shall be permitted only after site specific scrutiny and recommendation of the monitoring committee.