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Now, ESZ for Cauvery sanctuary

New Delhi/ Bengaluru, DH News Service, Aug 31 2017, 1:17 IST
The 600.7 sq km area around the park houses 72 revenue villages and 35 forest villages. DH file photo

The 600.7 sq km area around the park houses 72 revenue villages and 35 forest villages. DH file photo

The Union Environment and Forest Ministry has notified 600 sq km of area housing 107 villages as an eco-sensitive zone for the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) that nudges three districts.

The August 22 gazette notification comes almost 16 months after the publication of the draft notification, seeking comments from people on the proposal to create an eco-sensitive zone around the reserved forest.

The 600.7 sq km area around the park houses 72 revenue villages and 35 forest villages. The forest, spread over an area of 1,027.53 sq km, nudges three districts – Ramanagara, Chamrajnagara and Mandya. It is also a part of the Mysore elephant reserve.

The notification prohibits 10 commercial and developmental activities in the eco-sensitive zone, while restricting 30 other activities, official sources said.

The prohibited activities include commercial mining, establishing polluting industries, hydroelectric projects, production of hazardous substances, discharge of untreated effluents and setting up of solid waste disposal and incineration units.

Banned

Other banned activities are setting up of commercial livestock and poultry units, new saw mills, brick kilns and a complete stop to the commercial use of firewood.

The regulated activities would include commercial hotel business. No new commercial hotels and resorts are permitted within one kilometre from the boundary of the protected area.

However, small temporary structures could be allowed for eco-tourism if they are in conformity with the tourism master plan.

Some of the other regulated activities are construction, felling of trees, vehicle traffic at night, infrastructure build up and use of polythene bags. The state government will also have to prepare a zonal master plan.

A 12-member monitoring committee, headed by the Resident Commissioner, Mysore and having the three local MLAs among the members, has been constituted for effective monitoring of the eco-sensitive zone for the next three years.

Any commercial proposal related to any of the 30 restricted activities, has to be first approved by the monitoring panel. It would also have to submit an annual action taken report to the Chief Wildlife Warden.

Exactly a month back, the green ministry came out with a draft notification on a proposed eco-sensitive zone around the Nagarahole tiger reserve in Mysore and Kodagu districts.

Out of 39 protected areas in Karnataka, only Bandipur Tiger Reserve has a defined eco-sensitive buffer zone.

MoEF enlarges

Compared to the draft, the MoEF has increased the ESZ area around CWS by 42.1 sq km. This is similar to what MoEF had done in case of Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary.

In the draft notification, the state had proposed an area of 558 sq km of ESZ with an extent of 100 metres to 15 km around the boundary. In the final notification, the total geographical area of the ESZ has been declared as 600.7 sq km with an extent of one km to 14.5 km around the boundary of CWS.

The MoEF has also included two forests around CWS - Muneshwara state forest and Chunchi West reserve forest - under the ESZ.

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