Kerala govt to seek legal, political options against one-km ECZ norm

Representational Image
Representational Image

Thiruvananthapuram: The State will explore legal, and if necessary, political options to protect its interests regarding the one-kilometre eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) norm the Supreme Court has directed to implement around wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, Minister for forests A K Saseendran said.

The apex court making one-km ECZ mandatory for wildlife sanctuaries and national parks is likely to have an adverse impact on the State, as it might affect development projects and livelihoods of people living near the forests.

Saseendran said he will hold talks with the Standing Council in Delhi for ensuring legal intervention in the matter.

The Supreme Court will make a decision on relaxing the norm on the one-km ESZ, considering the public interest nad the recommendations of the central high-level committee (CEC) and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).

The court order has specified that the respective State governments should approach the CEC and ministry to seek relaxation in the norm.

Saseendran said the State's demand is to exclude human habitations from ECZ, and the government will protect the interests of people residing in the hilly regions. The issue will be brought to the notice of the chief minister, he said.

Even as it ordered the one-km norm, the court accepted the MoEFCC and the permanent committee of the National Wildlife Board's recommendation that it should be made uniformly applicable to all places. The committee opined that the State governments should make a call based on the ecological situation in each State.

Accepting that the one-km norm would not be possible in urban areas, the court said such protected urban forests could be considered separately.

States can seek relaxation in one-km ECZ norm

New Delhi: The Supreme Court order directing the implementation of a minimum one-kilometre eco-sensitive zone around all wildlife sanctuaries and national parks will be relaxed to protect public interest.

The order has included the provision for relaxing the norm, based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the central high-powered committee (CEC).

The apex court order has specified that State governments seeking relaxation in the norm should approach the CEC and MoEF&CC.

The Supreme Court has ordered an ESZ of at least one-kilometre wide around wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Even while passing the order, the court accepted the CEC and MoEF&CC's argument that it should not be uniformly implemented at all places.

The CEC made it clear that respective State governments should decide on the maximum width after considering the ecological issues.

The court has also specified that protected urban forests could be considered separately.

Other directives

If more than one-km ECZ has been decided at any place, it will continue.

At places where the State has not recommended any amendments to the width of the ECZ, it will have a provisional width of 10 km.

ECZs, where limited activities have been allowed, should seek permission again.

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