Buffer Zone: Kerala files review petition in SC

Supreme Court. Photo: IANS

New Delhi: Kerala has petitioned the Supreme Court seeking to review its verdict on fixing one km as a buffer zone / Eco Sensitivity Zone (ESZ) around all protected forests, considering that the directive has created a sense of insecurity and fear among the people.

Residents in the Wayanad district, and those living in Kumily, Munnar, Neyyar, Palakkad and Ranni are insecure about their lives. In the petition, it has been pointed out that the regulations based on the verdict would affect the people’s right to live and will have a severe impact on Kerala.

As per the SC direction on June 3, a one km buffer zone must be ensured around all wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Kerala’s review petition is the first one against the direction.

The State Chief Secretary’s petition was filed by Standing Counsel Nishe Rajan Shankar in the SC. Kerala would also seek to hear the case in an open Court.

The land area limitation in Kerala as against other States has been cited and it has been pointed out that a general criterion will not be fair while fixing the buffer zone. The ESZ zone must be decided on after considering the nature and peculiarities of each particular region.

Densely populated, inhabited areas must be completely excluded. The Government cannot rehabilitate these people to other locations. The decision would even affect Kerala’s High Court which is hardly 200 metres away from Mangalavanam bird sanctuary, Kerala said in the petition.

Earlier, State Forest Minister A K Saseendran had called on Union Minister for Forest and Environment Bhupendar Yadav and discussed the matter.

After getting the Centre’s support to move the Court, a discussion led by the Advocates General was held following which a review petition was filed by the State. The Central Government has also assured to submit a review petition.

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