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Confusion over govt stand on KNP eco-sensitive zone

By AJIT PATOWARY

GUWAHATI, July 18 - Even as the Supreme Court has directed the State government to make its stand clear on the recommendation of the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) for an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, the minutes of an official meeting held here on June 27, have created a lot of confusion among the environment activists over the State government�s stand on the issue. The CEC appointed by the Supreme Court recommended the ESZ for creating �some kind of �shock absorber� for the protected areas�.

Eco-sensitive zones act as transition zones from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection. In general, the width of an ESZ could go up to 10 km around a protected area, or beyond 10 km where sensitive corridors are present, as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.

But, in the June 27 meeting, the Chief Secretary of Assam stated, as per the minutes of the meeting, �...that in the areas of conflict the zero kilometre (km) limitation should be delineated and a minimum of 300/400 metres should be spared where there may be already existent public utilities/interest, government installations, building, etc.�

It further stated, �The Additional PCCF (RE & WP) has been advised to submit revised ESZ proposals which will be presented before the Chief Secretary, Assam, in the next meeting.

�Draft Master Plan for the proposed ESZ should be prepared and put up to the Government in the next two weeks. Simultaneous consultation process with DC should be undertaken to finalise the Master Plan of Kaziranga National Park, Eco Sensitive Zone,� it said.

When contacted, the Director, KNP told this correspondent in an e-mailed reply that the Task Force Committee (TFC) of the State forest department is yet to finalise the ESZ for the KNP. Further, it said, the final proposal for the purpose would be submitted based on the outcome of the next meeting of the TFC, scheduled for July 19, 2019.

The office of the Chief Secretary of the State told this correspondent through a reply to similar queries put before the KNP Director, that earmarking of the ESZ has to be done under the provisions of law and the Central government is the competent authority to do so.

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Confusion over govt stand on KNP eco-sensitive zone

GUWAHATI, July 18 - Even as the Supreme Court has directed the State government to make its stand clear on the recommendation of the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) for an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, the minutes of an official meeting held here on June 27, have created a lot of confusion among the environment activists over the State government�s stand on the issue. The CEC appointed by the Supreme Court recommended the ESZ for creating �some kind of �shock absorber� for the protected areas�.

Eco-sensitive zones act as transition zones from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection. In general, the width of an ESZ could go up to 10 km around a protected area, or beyond 10 km where sensitive corridors are present, as provided in the Wildlife Conservation Strategy, 2002.

But, in the June 27 meeting, the Chief Secretary of Assam stated, as per the minutes of the meeting, �...that in the areas of conflict the zero kilometre (km) limitation should be delineated and a minimum of 300/400 metres should be spared where there may be already existent public utilities/interest, government installations, building, etc.�

It further stated, �The Additional PCCF (RE & WP) has been advised to submit revised ESZ proposals which will be presented before the Chief Secretary, Assam, in the next meeting.

�Draft Master Plan for the proposed ESZ should be prepared and put up to the Government in the next two weeks. Simultaneous consultation process with DC should be undertaken to finalise the Master Plan of Kaziranga National Park, Eco Sensitive Zone,� it said.

When contacted, the Director, KNP told this correspondent in an e-mailed reply that the Task Force Committee (TFC) of the State forest department is yet to finalise the ESZ for the KNP. Further, it said, the final proposal for the purpose would be submitted based on the outcome of the next meeting of the TFC, scheduled for July 19, 2019.

The office of the Chief Secretary of the State told this correspondent through a reply to similar queries put before the KNP Director, that earmarking of the ESZ has to be done under the provisions of law and the Central government is the competent authority to do so.

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