August 25, 2015 1:50:26 am
Days after notifying an ecological sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Okhla bird sanctuary in Noida, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar Monday promised to finalise all the pending proposals for demarcation of ESZs around protected areas — 445 proposals in all — by March next year.
Javadekar claimed that he had already approved 176 of these proposals since taking office. While 32 of these are operational, the others are in the process of being notified.
There are 624 wildlife areas in the country which are designated as protected areas. These include national parks, bird parks and wildlife sanctuaries. There is a proposal to notify an ESZ around each of them. Human activities in ESZs are restricted and regulated, so that the negative impact of such activities on the fragile ecosystem within the protected areas is minimised.
Javadekar said after much prodding from the Centre, the state governments had put forward 445 proposals for demarcation of ESZs around protected areas — 100 proposals came from Andaman and Nicobar Islands alone.
“By March 21, 2015, all the remaining proposals (of the 445 submitted by the state governments) will be processed and approved so that there is no confusion in the country in the name of ESZs. There will be full clarity,” he said.
When the ESZs were originally proposed in 2002, it was suggested that all areas within a 10 km radius of a protected area should be declared an eco-sensitive zone. However, the National Board on Wildlife had, in 2005, recommended that the delineation of ESZs should actually be site-specific. But the Supreme Court had ruled in 2006 that till the exact boundaries of the ESZ were decided, a 10-km radius around the protected area would continue to be treated as an ESZ.
“Currently, there is a lot of confusion about what kind of activities will be allowed and till what distance from the protected area. We are working overtime to reduce this uncertainty. And we are doing it with due diligence in a very scientific manner,” Javadekar said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.