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Bannerghatta

Bannerghatta National Park’s Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ)

Bannerghatta National Park’s Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ), which provides a regulated buffer zone around protected areas, will remain at 168.84 sq.km. despite thousands of citizens formally objecting to the reduction of nearly 100 sq. km. as compared to the original proposal.

About Eco Sensitive Zone

  • Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India around Protected Areas ,National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas. They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”. However, Section 3(2)(v) of the Act, says that Central Government can restrict areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards.
  • Besides Rule 5(1) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 states that central government can prohibit or restrict the location of industries and carrying on certain operations or processes on the basis of considerations like the biological diversity of an area, maximum allowable limits of concentration of pollutants for an area, environmentally compatible land use, and proximity to protected areas. The above two clauses have been effectively used by the government to declare ESZs or EFAs.

About Bannerghatta National Park

  • Bannerghatta National Park, near Bangalore, Karnataka, was founded in 1970 and declared as a national park in 1974.
  • In 2002 a portion of the park, became a biological reserve, the Bannerghatta Biological Park
  • It is located about 22 km south of Bangalore in the hills of the Anekal range
  • The park is part of a wildlife corridor for elephants which connects the BR Hills and the Sathyamangalam forest.
  • The park is contiguous with Talli reserve forest in the southeast and Bilikal forest in the south
  • The Suvarnamukhi stream runs through the national park.

About the Issue

  • In the 33rd ESZ Expert Committee meeting of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) held on February 28, members recommended finalisation after ‘detailed deliberations’ of the November 5 draft notification which declared an ESZ area of 168.84 sq.km. around BNP.
  • This represents a 37% reduction from the first draft notification issued in 2016 which had marked an ESZ area of 268.9 sq.km.

Reasons for Objections

  • Smaller ESZ will lead to fragmentation of forests and increase mining.
  • Omission of key wildlife/elephant corridors.
  • Threats to the security of villagers due to the influence of the mining mafia.
  • No explanation in the reduction of ESZ.

https://www.iasipstnpsc.in/eco-sensitive-zones-2/

https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/170319/bannerghatta-national-park-centres-stand-irks-greens.html

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