ESZ: Deadline for public feedback likely to be extended

Representational image. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Public may get more time to apprise the authorities about any shortcomings or omissions found in the satellite survey report on human habitations within Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) around protected forest areas in Kerala. A decision on extending the time would be taken during the online meeting of the expert committee scheduled for December 20.

"The extension of the deadline for filing complaints is under active consideration and it would be pointed out to the expert committee," stated Kerala Forests and Wildlife Minister A K Saseendran on Friday.

The time could be extended by at least two weeks, sources say.

Why more time is needed
The preliminary report prepared by the Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre (KSREC) through satellite survey gave rise to confusion and complaints. The last date for furnishing additional/missing information was initially set at December 23. This deadline could be extended so that the public may present their concerns and file complaints, if any.

The five-member expert panel chaired by Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan had urged the public to send in their complaints, concerns and suggestions over the determination of 1 km ESZ (buffer zone) around the 23 protected forest areas that include inhabited regions, through email and post.

The expert committee could not meet on Friday as planned earlier.

How to give feedback
An abridged version of the report is available under the 'Eco-Sensitive Zone' link in the document section of The link has the report, map and a form to furnish missing information. The form, after filling up, should be emailed or posted to the joint secretary, Forest and Wildlife Department. Email:

Postal address: The Joint Secretary, Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department, Fifth Floor, Secretarial Annexe II Building, Thiruvananthapuram – 695001.

Complaints pour in
The Forests department has received more than 800 complaints until Friday. Field survey with the help of Kudumbasree would begin after scrutinizing the complaints. The committee is to fix a date to begin the field survey in the upcoming meetings.

The Forest Department has written to the Revenue department seeking help for field surveys in 115 villages. The request has been sent also to the Revenue Additional Chief Secretary, Land Revenue Commissioner and District Collectors.

Panchayat-level help desks
Priority would be given to the panchayats close to the forest region while setting up Panchayat-level help desks to resolve concerns and doubts in the preliminary report filed by the KSREC on buffer zones.

Of the total 115 villages that are included in the buffer zones in Kerala, 70 villages are located along the forest regions. Help desks would be facilitated at the Panchayat offices themselves to resolve the public’s doubts.

Training would be imparted to the staff who would be manning the help desks. Allowing funds to make use of the services of the staff with the local bodies is under the consideration of the Forests Department.

Help desks would also be set up in those panchayats where complaints have been already reported. Forest Department has requested the Local Administration Department to use the Panchayat notice boards for this purpose.

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