Environment ministry to redraw boundary of eco-sensitive area 

New Delhi : The centre has opposed the National Wildlife Board’s directive of no construction or industries in a 10-km radius of sanctuaries and national park, and asserted that their boundary be treated as the eco-sensitive area (ESA) with economic activity that should not be banned up to 20-km.

The environment and forests ministry has decided to get re-examined 650 national parks and sanctuaries, in a bid to redraw the new boundary of the ESA. The government is banking upon a Supreme Court ruling of 2006 that a distance of 10-km be substituted by the boundary limits of the zones for projects to be considered by the standing committee of the National Wildlife Board,

while considering closeness to protected areas.

However, Goa and Sikkim have already approached the ministry for limiting the ESA to not more than one-km around the wildlife areas in their jurisdiction, else the most populated areas in these states come under this regulation. Sources in the ministry say draft rules would be notified soon as well as fixing the ESA for Goa. Meanwhile, a notification has been already issued fixing 100 metres as the average ESA around eight wildlife areas in Sikkim.

The ministry officials say that drastic reduction of the buffer zones would speed up project development around protected areas, and most of the states had also opposed the 10-km buffer zone.

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