Environment Protection Act uniform for nation

In a press statement issued here, they said “Environment Protection Act 1986 Section 3 speaks on Eco Sensitive Zone within 10 km radius of all the National Parks and the reserve forests. The Act came into existence in 1986, but till 2002, neither the Center nor the state governments initiated any action.” The decision to declare 10 km radius of the national parks and reserve forest as Eco Sensitive Zone was taken in a meeting held under the presidentship of the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on January 21, 2002.

The release said that the ESZ aims at banning industrial activities in the region. Based on the decision taken by the NDA government in 2002, and the Supreme Court order of 2006, the Ministry of Environment and Forest has issued new guidelines for ESZ recently. As per the new guidelines mining, industries which cause air, water pollution, use of firewood for commercial purpose, hydro electricity projects, tourism activities including flying of aircraft, parachutes are banned. The activities like construction of resorts, hotels, laying of electric wires, widening of the road, installation of hoardings should be controlled. The agriculture activities, rain water harvesting, organic farming, green house technology can be undertaken in the Eco Sensitive Zone. By taking permission from the officials, one can fell trees in their land under Karnataka Forest Act of 1963 and Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act 1976, the release informed.

They alleged that few elected representatives are spreading rumours against ESZ without understanding the reason behind the proposal. Environment Protection Act is for the entire country and was not prepared by keeping in mind Kodagu alone, they added.

Few villages
A draft has been prepared in connection with the ESZ in Nagarahole National Park. However, as per the draft all the villages, which come within 10 km radius of the Park have not been included. The proposal includes Nokiya, Mayamudi, Hebbale, Kotta, Badaga, Nalkeri, Kothur, Kanoor, Nittur, Kottageri, Devanoor and Balele villages. There is a proposal to include Doddaharave, Anechoukur, Muddanahalli, Mavukallu, Devamacchi and Dubare reserve forests under eco sensitive zone, the release said.

Pros and cons
If the reserve forests in Kodagu are included under Nagarahole ESZ, then the proposed high tension line and Mysore-Talachery railway projects will not be materialised. The Barapole project will find a permanent solution. The ESZ notifications will give a weapon in the hands of pro people organisations which have been fighting against harmful projects.

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