Buffer zone: Kerala to join as party in Centre's plea seeking relaxation in SC verdict

Representational Image | Photo: Mathrubhumi archives

New Delhi: Kerala government has decided to approach the Supreme Court seeking relaxation in the order which directed to maintain a buffer zone of one kilometre around forests and sanctuaries across the country.

The state will join as a party to the Centre’s petition which requested relaxation in the draft and final notifications issued over buffer zone demarcation.

The Supreme Court bench chaired by Justice BR Gavai will consider the Centre’s petition on January 11. In the plea, the centre has sought to revise the order released on June 3, 2022, which made buffer zones compulsory around the protected areas.

Meanwhile, the Kerala government has handed over the recommendations related to the demarcation of buffer zones around its 17 wildlife sanctuaries and 6 national parks to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The Centre has issued a draft notification for all these protected areas, except Periyar National Park. A final notification related to the buffer zone around Mathikettan Shola National Park has been issued. Hence, Kerala expects that the concerns of the public could be addressed if the Supreme Court approves the demands of the central government.

Reportedly, standing counsel Nishe Rajan Shonker will file the petition of the Kerala government at the Supreme Court next week. The decision to join as a party in the case has been taken in a high-level meeting.

Demand for extra time to file Survey map

Kerala will seek more time to submit the draft map of the buffer zones at the Supreme Court. A separate request for this will be filed in the Supreme Court before January 11.

The protest which erupted over the satellite survey map of buffer zones issued by the expert panel urged the state government to request extra time for preparing another detailed survey map. In the June 3 order, Supreme Court directed the state to submit a survey map within four months. Senior lawyer Jaydeep Gupta and standing counsel Neshe Rajan Shonker will appear for the Kerala government in Supreme Court.

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