THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state cabinet has taken a decision to revise its earlier stand on eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) by allowing human inhabitations, on Wednesday.
The decision would help the government to convince the people affected that the government stood by their cause and blunt the charges by the opposition parties in the controversy.
The decision came close to the heels of passing a unanimous resolution in the assembly on protecting the interest of people living in the buffer-zone.
Recently the government intervened on behalf of the people affected and wrote to the centre regarding the concerns over the draft notification declaring ESZs. However an earlier stand taken by the government in 2019 attracted criticism from the opposition who alleged double standards.
The government had approved a draft notification of The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) regarding ESZs which makes human inhabitation difficult in zero to one kilometer radius of land located around wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.
In contrast, Wednesday’s cabinet decided to exclude all human settlements, agricultural areas and civic infrastructure from the purview of the ESZ. The government had asked the centre to issue the final notification by including the state's recommendation.
The state has 23 protected forest areas including 12 are wildlife sanctuaries, 3 bird sanctuaries, five national parks and two tiger reserves.