Buffer zone: Expert panel’s brief report identifies 70,582 constructions, final report within 2 days

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Kottayam: The expert panel’s final report regarding the residential regions and other structures in the buffer zone areas (eco sensitive zones) in Kerala will be submitted within two days. The panel handed over a brief report to the state government. According to this report, the panel has identified 70,582 constructions in the proposed buffer zones encircling the 20 protected areas in the state.

On Wednesday, a technical panel examined the latest report filed by the expert panel and the updates over buffer zones to date. The expert panel will convene a meeting on Thursday also.

Minister for Forest AK Saseendran directed the Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre (KSREC) to scrutinise the residential areas in the eco sensitive zones once again and submit a report. He advised to recommend remedies in the final report of the expert panel for the residential regions which fell under the ambit of buffer zones around the wildlife sanctuaries as in the case of Angel valley in Erumeli.

The report should incorporate the particulars regarding state wildlife board’s request to the central wildlife board for formulating new map of buffer zones after excluding the residential areas from it, said the minister.

The Kerala government formed the expert panel chaired by retired justice Thottathil Raveendran on account of the Supreme Court order recommending to demarcate one kilometre buffer zones around the protected areas and determine the residential regions in the proposed zones.

The forest, revenue and local self government departments had conducted combined surveys and handed over the findings to the expert panel in February 2023. The expert panel has relied on KSREC's satellite reports also to prepare the final report.

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