Thursday, January 10, 2013

Act now or we will: Centre

Act now or we will: Centre
Times of India By Himanshu Kaushik

The deadline is set. The Union ministry of forest and environment (MoEF) has cautioned the states that failure to earmark eco-sensitive zones around wildlife sanctuaries before February 15, 2013, will force it to act on its own. The MoEF has warned that it could freeze all the area in 10 km radius of a sanctuary for purpose of construction and other developmental activities.

If the state government fails to adhere to the deadline, the construction activity around Nalsarovar, Thol, Gir National Park and Velavadar would be hit. The state government was planning to earmark an area of two km around these sanctuaries. Gujarat has already declared eco-sensitive zones around four sanctuaries -Girnar in Junagadh, Purna in Dangs, Narayan Sarovar in Kutch and Vansda National Park in Valsad.

The letter signed by deputy inspector general Vivek Saxena stated that the MoEF had issued revised guidelines for the notification of eco-sensitive zones around national parks and sanctuaries on February 9, 2011. "However the progress on this front has been far from satisfactory. Only a few states have come forward with proposals, that too for few national parks and sanctuaries."

The ministry said that it was giving one last chance to the state to decide on the eco-sensitive areas around the sanctuaries. In case if the state government fails to submit the proposals by February 15, the ministry will decide the eco-sensitive zone and there after that it would not entertain any proposal seeking change, the letter read.

The policy 'Wildlife Conservation Strategy-2002' was adopted by the Indian Board for Wildlife envisaging declaring a area falling within 10 km of the boundary of national parks and sanctuaries as eco-fragile zone. In 2005, it was decided to have site specific zones.

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