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Centre may modify plan

By Debasish Baruah

KOHORA, Aug 24 - After facing opposition from various organisations in public hearings on Kaziranga National Park�s proposed eco-sensitive zone, the Central Government might consider a review and modification of some of the contentious issues to maintain a balance between the wildlife and the human population living in and around the park.

According to a highly-placed source in Kaziranga�s Forest Department, many issues like zero metre eco-sensitive zone for Kaziranga National Park boundary, exclusion of all civil areas from the proposed eco-sensitive zone area, allowing of stone quarry activities which is very much detrimental for the forest environment, de-notification of Kaziranga Tiger Reserve etc., have created some confusion among the policy makers and wildlife experts. Allowing these activities to continue will mean further degradation of the natural environment in Kaziranga, leading to more and more habitat loss of wild animals, including the rhino, deer and others.

Moreover, Kaziranga is considered to be an ideal wildlife habitat and being a World Heritage Site recognised by the UNESCO, as well as an Important Bird Area (IBA), the Government also needs to look after the issues related to wildlife and check the pollutants and other waste solid materials, discharged by some commercial establishments, which are operating their businesses at the cost of wildlife, sources added.

The need of the hour is that the sooner the Government sorts out the issues, better it would for all stake holders in Kaziranga.

According to the eco-sensitive draft proposal, the eco-sensitive zone in Kaziranga has been divided into 20 different zones, including agriculture zone, commercial zone, eco-tourism zone, quarry zone (to be demarcated later), industrial zone (to be demarcated later), urban zone and restricted zone. The areas falling under Kohora, Kuthori and Bokakhat have been proposed under the urban zone.

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