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State govt for 1294.56 sq km ESZ around KNP

By Ajit Patowary
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GUWAHATI, Aug 7 - The State Government has proposed a 1294.56 square kilometre (sq km) eco sensitive zone (ESZ) area around the Kaziranga National Park (KNP), one of the World Heritage Sites of the State, but, with its circumference, ranging between �0� km and 6.2 km. Moreover, while preparing the draft notification for the purpose in 2015 and revising it in September, 2019, the State Government maintained that the ESZ of the KNP is to be notified �in isolation.�

The 2015 draft of the KNP ESZ notification was revised and re-submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on September 18, 2019. Presently, the KNP, which is also a notified tiger reserve, has an area of 884.43 sq km.

The ESZ Expert Committee of the MoEFCC discussed the proposal on June 24 this year, which was the second day of its 41st meeting. The meeting was held through video conferencing and the KNP ESZ issue was discussed by the Expert Committee as the agenda item number 5.3. The Expert Committee returned the proposal to the State Government with the direction to formulate an integrated proposal including all the eight protected areas (PAs) located in the periphery of this National Park. �The revised proposal should be sent to Wildlife division of MoEFCC and also seek concurrence of NTCA,� said the Expert Committee.

State�s senior forest official MK Yadava gave a detailed presentation on the proposal and informed the Expert Committee that the KNP ESZ proposal was submitted to the MoEFCC on July 28, 2015. After subsequent meetings and discussions within the Ministry and Expert Committee, the State was asked to revise the proposal integrating KNP and its adjoining eight PAs.

Yadava said that the proposal was prepared in pursuance of the Supreme Court order dated April 12, 2019 in WPC 202/1995. And, going by this apex court order, mining activities in Karbi Anglong Hills, adjoining to KNP, have been restricted, and new construction activities have also been banned in nine identified animal corridors.

The Expert Committee pointed out to the fact that in spite of the restrictions and ban imposed by the Supreme Court, the present proposal for Kaziranga ESZ has been submitted in isolated form, without integrating with the eight adjoining PAs. Further, it was observed that the extent of the ESZ in most locations is almost zero and it is referred as zero to 6.2 km in the draft notification.

The State Government representative informed that the standard ESZ proposal for KNP was �prepared taking into account the observation of Central Empowered Committee (CEC) constituted by Hon�ble Supreme Court.�

The members of the Expert Committee, along with the members of the NTCA �insisted for integrated ESZ proposal with eight PAs together with reserve forests as the present proposal may have long term negative impacts on the entire biodiversity of the area and need protection and conservation at this stage only. The Chairman expressed that views of the Expert Committee may suitably apprised to CEC for making proposal meaningful on the said measures.�

Significantly, the State Government in its draft KNP ESZ notification said, inter alia, that it would be expedient to form a single ESZ covering the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve {consisting of KNP and Burhachapori-Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuaries (WLSs)}, together with Nambor, Garampani, Nambor-Doigrung, Eastern Karbi Anglong WLSs and the North Karbi Anglong Proposed WLS as a single conservation landscape. It further said based on the recommendation of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) constituted by the Supreme Court of India, �the Eco-Sensitive Zone of Kaziranga National Park is proposed hereby in isolation.�

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State govt for 1294.56 sq km ESZ around KNP

GUWAHATI, Aug 7 - The State Government has proposed a 1294.56 square kilometre (sq km) eco sensitive zone (ESZ) area around the Kaziranga National Park (KNP), one of the World Heritage Sites of the State, but, with its circumference, ranging between �0� km and 6.2 km. Moreover, while preparing the draft notification for the purpose in 2015 and revising it in September, 2019, the State Government maintained that the ESZ of the KNP is to be notified �in isolation.�

The 2015 draft of the KNP ESZ notification was revised and re-submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) on September 18, 2019. Presently, the KNP, which is also a notified tiger reserve, has an area of 884.43 sq km.

The ESZ Expert Committee of the MoEFCC discussed the proposal on June 24 this year, which was the second day of its 41st meeting. The meeting was held through video conferencing and the KNP ESZ issue was discussed by the Expert Committee as the agenda item number 5.3. The Expert Committee returned the proposal to the State Government with the direction to formulate an integrated proposal including all the eight protected areas (PAs) located in the periphery of this National Park. �The revised proposal should be sent to Wildlife division of MoEFCC and also seek concurrence of NTCA,� said the Expert Committee.

State�s senior forest official MK Yadava gave a detailed presentation on the proposal and informed the Expert Committee that the KNP ESZ proposal was submitted to the MoEFCC on July 28, 2015. After subsequent meetings and discussions within the Ministry and Expert Committee, the State was asked to revise the proposal integrating KNP and its adjoining eight PAs.

Yadava said that the proposal was prepared in pursuance of the Supreme Court order dated April 12, 2019 in WPC 202/1995. And, going by this apex court order, mining activities in Karbi Anglong Hills, adjoining to KNP, have been restricted, and new construction activities have also been banned in nine identified animal corridors.

The Expert Committee pointed out to the fact that in spite of the restrictions and ban imposed by the Supreme Court, the present proposal for Kaziranga ESZ has been submitted in isolated form, without integrating with the eight adjoining PAs. Further, it was observed that the extent of the ESZ in most locations is almost zero and it is referred as zero to 6.2 km in the draft notification.

The State Government representative informed that the standard ESZ proposal for KNP was �prepared taking into account the observation of Central Empowered Committee (CEC) constituted by Hon�ble Supreme Court.�

The members of the Expert Committee, along with the members of the NTCA �insisted for integrated ESZ proposal with eight PAs together with reserve forests as the present proposal may have long term negative impacts on the entire biodiversity of the area and need protection and conservation at this stage only. The Chairman expressed that views of the Expert Committee may suitably apprised to CEC for making proposal meaningful on the said measures.�

Significantly, the State Government in its draft KNP ESZ notification said, inter alia, that it would be expedient to form a single ESZ covering the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve {consisting of KNP and Burhachapori-Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuaries (WLSs)}, together with Nambor, Garampani, Nambor-Doigrung, Eastern Karbi Anglong WLSs and the North Karbi Anglong Proposed WLS as a single conservation landscape. It further said based on the recommendation of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) constituted by the Supreme Court of India, �the Eco-Sensitive Zone of Kaziranga National Park is proposed hereby in isolation.�

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