Eco-sensitive zones: Constructions to be limited; Kerala to negotiate for relaxations


K R Prahaladhan

There are 24 places categorised under wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala. Out of these, 16 places contain small towns and widely human-inhabited areas.

Representative image | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kottayam: All kinds of constructions around wildlife sanctuaries and national parks will be strictly governed following the Supreme Court verdict declaring the 1 km area around these regions as eco-sensitive zone (ESZ). The area of these buffer zones may be reconsidered by taking common interest into account and this relaxation will be allowed by the Supreme Court itself.

There are 24 places categorised under wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Kerala. Out of these, 16 places contain small towns and widely human-inhabited areas in the buffer zones.



The Supreme Court will take the decision on the relaxation of the distance limit of 1 km based on the recommendations of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and a High-Level Committee. The states will have to approach this High-Level Committee for negotiating relaxation of buffer zones. The Supreme Court had acknowledged the opinion of the National Board for Wildlife that the same method cannot be followed throughout the country while classifying the ESZ. In certain states, the buffer zones are more than 1 km.

The court has asked the states to produce a report on the SC verdict. It is hinted that the Minister for Forests and the Chief Minister for Kerala will discuss the matters upon arriving at the state capital. Out of the 24 wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala, the draft notification on the ESZ of 20 of them has been released, excluding the human-inhabited areas and farmlands. But the new verdict may affect this adversely.

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