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Central notification shrinks Bannerghatta ESZ by 100 sq km

agar Kulkarni
Last Updated : 12 March 2020, 21:01 IST
Last Updated : 12 March 2020, 21:01 IST
Last Updated : 12 March 2020, 21:01 IST
Last Updated : 12 March 2020, 21:01 IST

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The eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around Bannerghatta National Park, considered as the lungs of Bengaluru, has shrunk by 100 sq kms as the Centre issued a notification for reducing the buffer zone to 168.84 sq km.

The notification issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on Wednesday stated that the “Eco-sensitive Zone shall be to an extent of 100 meters to 1.0 kilometre around the boundary of the Bannerghatta National Park and the area of the Eco-sensitive Zone is 168.84 square kilometres”.

According to a 2016 notification, an area of 268.9 sq km was earmarked as the ESZ. The 2016 notification, however, lapsed due to the opposition from the Karnataka government that didn’t submit its views as sought by the central government.

Environmentalists and BJP members including Tejasvi Surya, P C Mohan and Rajeev Chandrasekhar had spoken against the reduction of the ESZ.

However, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had written a letter to Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar last month to speed up issuing the notification contending that the delay was affecting development activities in the region.

The notification prohibits commercial mining, stone quarrying and setting up of crushing units within the Bannerghatta ESZ.

Environmentalists had petitioned the government to finalise an ESZ for Bannerghatta in order to stop illegal mining and quarrying, outside the park for several years.

The first effort to create a legally protected buffer zone around Bannerghatta came in 2016 when the central ministry issued a draft notification declaring 268.9 sq km area outside the park (the width varying between 100 metres and 4.5 km) as the ESZ.

In May 2018, the state forest department sent a fresh draft ESZ proposal, which was the basis for the new draft notification issued by the Centre in October that year.

The notification prohibits commercial mining, stone quarrying, and crushing units, except for meeting the domestic needs of bonafide local residents, including digging of the earth for construction or repair of houses and for the manufacture of country tiles or bricks for housing and personal consumption.

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Published 12 March 2020, 21:01 IST

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