The Kerala government decided to conduct a field survey for determining forest buffer zones. A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took the decision on Tuesday.
Amid mounting protests against the flaws in the satellite survey carried out for determining forest buffer zones, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan called a high-level meeting to discuss the issue of determining the extent of the eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) or buffer zones around protected forests and wildlife sanctuaries in accordance with the order of the Supreme Court.
The meeting also decided to publicise the document related to buffer zone submitted before the Supreme Court in order to allay the concern of the people and clear the government’s stance on the buffer zone issue. It is learnt that the government’s document clearly mentioned its decision to exclude residential areas from buffer zones.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader V D Satheesan asked the chief minister as to why the state government included human-inhabited areas in the buffer zone.
Speaking to media persons at the Cantonment House here, Satheesan posed a slew of questions to the LDF Government. He asked why the government decided to hold only satellite surveys, why the government has come out with a second order, which lacks clarity.
“Why were the revenue and local self-government departments avoided from the survey? Why was the satellite survey report kept hidden for 3.5 months when it was actually received on Aug 29,” Satheesan asked.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, in its order on June 3, said national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and such protected forests must have Eco-Sensitive Zones(ESZs) of minimum 1-km from their boundaries.
The court said the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MEF & CC) on 9 February, 2011, which have either banned or regulated a bunch of activities within the ESZ, should be strictly adhered to.