Mathikettan Shola | Photo: Pushparajan Thaliparamba
New Delhi: The Central government has issued draft notification declaring a 17.5 square kilometre area around the Mathikettan Shola National Park as Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ).
The notification was issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. One kilometre area surrounding the Mathikettan Shola National Park will be an ESZ from now.
In the notification, the central government has directed the state to prepare a special zonal master plan for the area within two years. According to the notification, areas that come under Poopara village in Udumban Chola taluk in Idukki district will become SEZ.
There are restrictions on construction activities, including houses, on forest and agriculture in the SEZ. The area cannot be transferred for commercial or industrial use. Eco tourism projects must be prepared according to the zonal master plan, the Centre directed.
The central government has constituted a 6-member committee to observe if the recommendations regarding the notification are being implemented. The committee will be chaired by the Idukki district Collector. The district panchayat president will be a member of the committee.
The area earmarked for the construction of the Neutrino Observatory is in Theni, on the east side of Mathikettan Shola National Park. This area will not be an SEZ. The construction of the Neutrino Observatory has been stayed by the National Green Tribunal.