SC seeks govt response to buffer zones

The Supreme Court on Friday sought Union Government’s response on a recommendation made by Central Empowered Committee (CEC) for creating a mandatory buffer zone of 2 km in all the national parks and sanctuaries that are not less than 200 sq kms in size.

A forest bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam, K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar also found as alarming the dwindling forest cover in the country which was recorded at 1.89 per cent only.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing as amicus curiae submitted that all the national parks and sanctuaries having area of 200 sq kms or more should have a buffer zone of minimum of 2 kms, while those of 100 to 200 sq kms areas should have a buffer zone of 500 meters and those having less than 100 sq kms area have a buffer zone of 100 meters.At present, the government has fixed the buffer zone as upto 2 kms.

Additional Solicitor Gourab Banerjee, appearing for the Centre, submitted the government would get back to the court after taking necessary instruction on modification of the buffer zone.The court asked the government to file the response on suggestion made by amicus curiae and put the matter for further hearing for November 2.

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