In all probability, the final notification of ESA (Ecologically Sensitive Area) villages by the Union Environment Ministry could be delayed further. The Kerala State Biodiversity Board, which is currently undertaking a major task of carrying out expert scrutiny of the village cadastral maps returned after verification by panchayat-level committees, is expected to post the same on its website by the coming Saturday.
According to officials at the Biodiversity Board, the expert scrutiny of almost 100 ESA villages has been completed. “Now scrutiny of the remaining about 23 villages is to be done, which is expected to be over by Wednesday. Now more than one desk has been set up for the purpose,” the officials said. Now, maps prepared based on land use pattern are being created. Information produced by villages including pattayams and other related information is being included.
The scrutiny of maps is being done by an expert team. “Once the scrutiny of maps of all 123 villages is completed, the maps will be scanned and given to the Remote Sensing Department for digitisation. By May 10, the Biodiversity Board would be able to upload the maps on its website. Once uploaded, the public can approach the board for changes till May 17, which has been set as the sealing date. Even after that the public can raise their complaints before the Environment Ministry. The final notification, after incorporating the changes based on the complaints raised by the public, could be further delayed,” they pointed out.
Meanwhile, State Biodiversity Board chairman Oommen V Oommen said a final picture would emerge once the expert verification is completed. The expert verification of maps returned by panchayat-level committees would be completed by Wednesday. “Once the expert scrutiny is over, we would be able to evaluate the situation and finalise posting of maps on the website. Anyway the process would be over latest by Thursday or Friday,” he added.