Two km area around Sakkarakottai sanctuary notified eco-sensitive zone

The Sakkarakottai bird sanctuary is basically an irrigation tank that is used for storing water for agriculture, recharged by northeast monsoon from October to January.

Published: 18th July 2018 04:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th July 2018 04:42 AM   |  A+A-

A flock of yellow-billed stork drinking water in Kuppaikurichi tank near Tirunelveli on Tuesday | V KARTHIKALAGU

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has considered the proposal of the State forest department and notified two-km area around Sakkarakottai bird sanctuary in Ramanathapuram district as eco-sensitive zone (ESZ), which will regulate all commercial activities without disturbing the current land use which is predominantly farming.

A draft gazette notification under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 was issued by the Environment Ministry on July 9 and made public for people to send their objections and suggestions within 60 days.  
Spread over 230.495 hectares, the Sakkarakottai bird sanctuary is basically an irrigation tank that is used for storing water for agriculture, recharged by northeast monsoon from October to January. The tank remains completely dry from March to August. The best time to visit the sanctuary for bird watching is November-January when bird population and species diversity are at the highest. The area is an important and unique habitat known for varied avian fauna which provides an ecologically sustainable habitat for more than 42 bird species. About 5,000 birds belonging to 30 species were listed during the season and many different varieties of migratory birds arrive for feeding purpose, besides having rare, endangered and threatened species like the great cormorant, purple heron, comb duck, common teal, common redshank and common greenshank.

The notification, a copy of which is available with Express, says an area of 19.0387 sq.km is notified as an eco-sensitive zone. The ministry has asked the Tamil Nadu government to prepare a Zonal Master Plan for the ESZ within two years from the date of publication of the final notification in the official gazette in consultation with local people.

The ministry has also constituted a seven-member monitoring committee, headed by the Ramanathapuram Collector, for effective monitoring of the provisions of the notification. As per the ESZ map of the Sakkarakottai bird sanctuary, Sakkarakottai, Rajsuriyamadai, Vannigudi, Palkarai and Achadiparambu are the only villages located in the vicinity of the sanctuary and are under the jurisdiction of Sakkarakottai panchayat. There are 2,559 households in the three villages and nearly half of the total households were observed to be below poverty line. In these villages, the total human population is 9,303. The notification says Zonal Master Plan won’t restrict approved existing land use but would prohibit activities that are hazardous.

2,559 Households in the three villages in the vicinity of the sanctuary and nearly half of the total households were observed to be below the poverty line

Sakkarakottai sanctuary

Spread over 230.495 hectares, the Sakkarakottai bird sanctuary is basically an irrigation tank that is used for storing water for agriculture
It is recharged by northeast monsoon from October to January
The tank remains completely dry from March to August
The best time to visit the sanctuary for bird watching is November-January when bird population and species diversity are at the highest
About 5,000 birds belonging to 30 species have been listed during the season and many different varieties of migratory birds arrive for feeding

60 days From July 9 is the available time for people to send their objections and suggestions in connection with the proposal

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