Kerala averse to extending eco-sensitive zone width

The Kerala government on Wednesday said it did not favour extending eco-sensitive zone areas where there are human settlements near national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

“The state will submit its proposals to the Centre on the matter in tune with its concept that it did not want to cause any difficulties to people who are living for years,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said during a cabinet briefing.

However, he said the government has no objection to extending the ecologically sensitive areas beyond 12 km where there were no human settlements. The Centre had sought state’s opinion to extend the width of eco-sensitive zone’s of 22 centres in the state. The government was committed to protecting and conserving forest and wildlife.

He said Kerala’s forest cover “is much higher than the national average,” he said.

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