Kerala ask the Supreme Court to relax the ruling governing eco-sensitive zones around forests

Kerala Eco Zone

KERALA: In Kerala, where such places are thickly populated, the Supreme Court judgment establishing an eco-sensitive zone of 1 km around all woods has not gone over well.

Kerala Forest Minister A. K. Saseendran stated that the state government will cope with the recent Supreme Court judgment establishing a one-kilometer eco-sensitive zone and eco zone in Kerala surrounding national parks and animal sanctuaries in a legal manner.

Speaking to the media here on Monday, the minister said that the apprehensions of the public regarding the new direction were reasonable considering the situation in Kerala, adding that the State government will take action on this subject within a week.

In the instance of the latest Supreme Court order, he again dismissed charges that the State and Central governments were working together, pointing out that the court had laid up options for distance relaxation if public interest was at stake.

Transition’ zones

The Supreme Court issued a decree on Friday mandating that every protected forest, national park, and animal sanctuary in the country have an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of at least 1 km starting from its designated boundaries.

These zones are designed to act as a shock absorber’ or transition zone between high-protection areas and lower-protection areas. In this zone, no construction or mining is permitted, and the Chief Forest Conservators must provide a report on any continuing activity within three months.

Kerala’s highlands are in uproar

However, there has been widespread opposition to this in Kerala’s uplands, particularly in Idukki, where heavily populated areas are within the 1-kilometer distance.

The State government would approach the authorized committee and the Central government, according to the Forest Minister, to voice the state’s concerns in this regard. He urged the public to avoid instilling undue fear in the public, and he stated that the state was willing to talk to anyone about the matter.

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