The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on Monday told states any commercial activity within 10 km of 650 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries would be discontinued if they failed to notify ecologically sensitive areas by next month.
Environment secretary V Rajagopalan, in a letter to state chief secretaries, has sought proposals for declaring eco-sensitive zones latest by February 15, 2013, as a last opportunity to submit their report. “In case the states and union territories fail to submit the proposals, the activities prohibited as per the 2011 guidelines would stand implemented within 10 km of national parks and sanctuaries,” the letter quoted Rajagopalan as saying.
The Wildlife Conservation Strategy-2002, adopted by the Indian Board for Wildlife, envisaged declaring land falling within 10 km of the boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries as eco-fragile zones for the safety of animals. However, even after repeated requests by the environment ministry, only a few states have identified eco-sensitive areas around the santuaries. Though it was notified in 2002, due to the reservations expressed by a few states, the matter had been once again examined by the National Board for Wildlife in March 2005, wherein it was decided to have site-specific eco-sensitive zones.