The chances of getting the Mangalavanam Bird Sanctuary notified as an Eco Sensitive Zone diminished, with the authorities doing the bordering work in a fragmented manner.
As per the guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), delineation of the physical boundaries on a top-sheet with precise descriptions in geographic terms together with a description of the significant features or attributes that would potentially qualify the area as ESZ should be submitted along with the proposal for the declaration of ESZ.
A description of the boundaries along with the list of villages with exception and exemption in the delineated buffer zone area should also be submitted.
The original area supposed to be declared as the ESZ includes the land owned by the Railways, two Petroleum companies, land owned by a private firm and that of the Kerala State housing Board (KSHB).
“However, following the interference of the state government, the actual plan was revised. The land owned by the Housing Board was excluded from the list, thereby diminishing the chances of getting the total area notified under ESZ,” sources said. Earlier, there were allegations that the Housing Board land was identified by the Finance Ministry to implement the Kochi Finance City project which was announced in the last state Budget. The project was supposed to be implemented at the 18-acre plot owned by Kerala State Housing Board, behind the High Court building, which was at first included in the area to be notified as ESZ.
At present the MoEF is processing the notification of the ESZ for various protected areas in the country. “But our proposal is likely to be rejected as the state government has failed in ensuring the contiguity of the area to be notified.
The move to remove KSHB land from the total area to be notified will also adversely affect the ESZ notification as the state is not even including the property under its ownership to get notified. The sanctuary cannot be notified under Kasturi Rangan report as it is located away from the Western Ghats. If it is not notified, Mangalavanam, one of the existing green belts of the city, will fail to enter the list of ESZs,” sources said.