Buffer zone: Livelihoods will be protected, says Kerala chief minister

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has alleged that false information were being spread in the name of eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) also called buffer zones.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Pinarayi said his government will not take any action that affects livelihood of people residing along protected forests.

The Supreme Court had in June this year directed the setting up of a buffer zone of 1km. Pinarayi said his government will inform the apex court about the inhabited land that falls under these zones.

“The state's position is inclusive of the apprehensions of the people residing in these places.

“We're firm in our stand that inhabited regions and agricultural lands outside national parks and wildlife sanctuaries must be excluded,” said Pinarayi.

“There are numerous falsehoods being spread. But the final report will include all buildings. That is to tell the apex court that the regions it has demarcated under buffer zones are actually densely populated.

“Hence, those residing in or doing agricultural works in the regions mentioned by the court need not be concerned. The state will let the apex court know the practical difficulties involved in converting these regions into buffer zones.

“The proof that we will submit before the court will include maps when the review petition is heard,” said the chief minister.

He added that the previous UDF government led by Oommen Chandy had decided on a 12km stretch for the buffer zone.

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