Kerala to submit amendments to Centre's draft notification on Eco Sensitive Zones

Thiruvananthapuram: The state will propose amendments to the draft notification issued by Centre in connection with declaring one sq km area around Kerala's 23 wildlife sanctuaries as Eco Sensitive Zones.

The decision was taken at a high level meeting convened by Forest Minister K Raju here the other day. The meeting decided to submit amendments for excluding areas with high density of population. The meeting observed that human habitation or presence of agricultural land will not create any problems in Eco Sensitive Zones. The meeting reached an understanding on the state submitting amendments to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for excluding densely populated areas if these have been included in the draft notification concerning Eco Sensitive Zones.

The draft notification related to the state's seven Eco Sensitive Zones was issued in August. The amendments to each notification will be submitted within the time allotted by the Centre for this purpose.

Mr Raju said chief wildlife warden Mr Surendra Kumar has been entrusted with the responsibility of completing these tasks in a time bound manner. He has also been asked to submit an urgent report.

Surendra Kumar also has the responsibility of placing the state’s newly amended proposals before the Centre. The chief minister will examine the new amendments before these are handed over to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had directed the states to create Eco Sensitive Zones in a 10 km area around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. However, Kerala believes the Centre’s proposal is impractical. It may be recalled that on October 23, 2019 the Kerala Cabinet decided to send a proposal declaring 0 to 1 km area around 23 wild life sanctuaries as Eco Sensitive Zones.

The high level meeting was convened by Raju in the wake of strong protests emerging especially from Malabar zone against the proposals submitted by the government.

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