Eco-Sensitive Zone: Relief for Kerala farmers as SC takes lenient view
The court has also indicated that the plea to give exemption to human habitations located in forest fringe areas can be considered.
KOCHI: Taking a lenient view on Kerala’s intervention application filed in the Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday orally observed that the application to give finality to the exemption granted to human habitations can be considered.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and Kerala had sought finality to the proposals given by the state on the final and draft notifications fixing the ESZ of protected forests by the expert committee of the MoEF, prior to the June 3 verdict of the apex court.
The case has been postponed for hearing on January 16. “The observation made by the Supreme Court on Wednesday brings hope and relief to farmers living in forest fringe areas. The court has agreed to consider the petitions filed by Kerala and the Union government jointly.
The court has also indicated that the plea to give exemption to human habitations located in forest fringe areas can be considered. This has come as a great relief to Kerala,” said Forest Minister A K Saseendran.
He said the government will take all possible steps to exclude human habitations from the Eco-Sensitive Zone of protected forests.
Meanwhile, a meeting convened by the minister on Wednesday decided to place the proposal to give exemption to the 9 sq km human settlement located inside the Thattekad bird sanctuary for consideration of the state wildlife board. The board will discuss the issue on January 19.
Thattekad: Decision after legal opinion, cases in SC
The human settlement inside Thattekad sanctuary does not fall under the ESZ. However, it is located inside the sanctuary. A decision will be taken considering the legal opinion and the cases pending before the SC. Though the government had decided to exclude the settlement from the management plan of the sanctuary, the proposal was not placed before the state wildlife board.