Buffer zone row: Kerala to file affidavit in Supreme Court on Monday 

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Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government on Monday will file a request to join as a party in the petition submitted by the union government on the buffer zone issue at the Supreme Court. The court will consider the union government's plea on January 11.

The state government has finalised the affidavit prepared by the forest department after considering the advice of legal experts.

The Kerala government will request the court to grant three more months to gather the details of buildings and agricultural lands in the proposed buffer zone regions around the protected forests in the state. The conditions within each protected area differ, so a unified criterion for all regions would be impossible, asserted Kerala.

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Soaring complaints

The state government received 54,607 complaints related to buffer zones via local self-governments till Friday. The time allotted to submit complaints will end on Saturday. The forest department has said that the deadline will not be postponed.

The government examined 17,054 complaints and included details regarding 18,496 buildings in the report. The procedures to address the grievances and include the details of the constructions in the map prepared by the forest department are underway.

The Supreme Court last year ordered to set up a 1km eco sensitive zone surrounding protected forests in the country. Construction activities will be restricted in these areas. Kerala witnessed massive protests against the order. The government then set up a committee to analyse the impact of the decision and moved the court seeking relaxation. The court has agreed to reexamine the case.

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