ESZ does not involve displacement, won’t impact vocation, says Centre

Ashwini Kumar Choubey, minister of state said that the Kerala government had been instructed to take necessary action to demarcate the buffer zone around the protected areas.

Published: 13th January 2023 06:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2023 06:10 AM   |  A+A-

Charmadi Ghat

Image used for representational purpose only.

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a relief to people living in protected areas around eco-sensitive zones (ESZ), the Centre has clarified that declaration of ESZ does not involve displacement or evacuation of residents and won’t impact their vocation.

“There are no prohibitions regarding ongoing agriculture and horticulture practices,” Ashwini Kumar Choubey, minister of state for the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry, said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

“Dairy farming, agriculture and fisheries activities are allowed within the ESZ,” he said, adding, “Activities related to infrastructure, including civic amenities, are only regulatory in nature.” Vadakara MP K Muraleedharan had raised the issue regarding the preliminary satellite survey report prepared by Kerala State Remote Sensing Environment Centre in the Parliament.

“ESZs around protected areas are notified by the Centre based on proposals submitted by state governments. Activities undertaken within an ESZ are in general regulated, except in case of a few specific activities that are prohibited such as commercial mining, stone quarrying and crushing units,” he said.

Choubey said the state government had been instructed to take necessary action to demarcate the buffer zone around the protected areas.

Steps to protect the environment ignoring farmers’ rights are not practical and ESZ should be restricted to the forest boundary, said the Syro Malabar Church Synod held in Kakkanad on Thursday. The country needs a safe zone that supports life, not buffer zone. It urged the Centre and state to take steps to avoid human habitations and farmlands from the ESZ. Declaration of ESZ around 23 wildlife sanctuaries and national parks will lead to forced eviction of farmers, it said. It also sought withdrawal of the recommendation to declare Bhavani forest as a sanctuary. The Synod said as the SC had taken a lenient view, efforts should be made to protect farmers living in forest fringe areas.


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