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Bannerghatta National Park’s Eco-Sensitive Zone

  • 15/03/2019
  • Bannerghatta National Park’s Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ), which provides a regulated buffer zone around protected areas, will remain at 168.84 despite thousands of citizens formally objecting to the reduction of nearly 100 sq. km. as compared to the original proposal.
  • 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 around BNP.
  • This represents a 37% reduction from the first draft notification issued in 2016 which had marked an ESZ area of 268.9
  • The new ESZ will range from 100 metres (towards Bengaluru) to 1 kilometre (in Ramanagaram district) from the periphery of the protected area. The ESZ Committee estimates that between 150 and 200 elephants were observed at BNP.
  • There is a Supreme Court ruling prohibiting quarrying and mining activities within 1km of a protected areas irrespective of the ESZ distance. Since this safe zone is applicable, the objections couldn’t hold.
  • MoEF accepted the State government’s position, which is derived from a cabinet sub-committee formed to look into delineation of ESZs in 31 protected areas of the State. In 2015, the State government approved the sub-committee report that reduced ESZ in multiple areas as it ‘may hinder developmental activity’ and was ‘opposed by locals’.