A committee headed by environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan on Thursday rejected the recommendations of a Supreme Court panel to dilute guidelines for declaring safe homes for wildlife in as many as 668 national parks and sanctuaries in the country.
The standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife rejected the recommendations of the court's Central Empowered Committee which wanted the eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) around the parks from present 10 km to a maximum of two km, thus paving a way for more industrial activity.
The committee had given its recommendations on the ground that state governments were reluctant to notify the ministry's 2011 ESZ guidelines as it would restrict developmental activity around the zones.
The court had sought ministry's reply on the committee's report which had divided national parks into four categories.
The CEC has brought the limit of eco-sensitive zones from 10 km to a maximum of two km for category A national parks having area of more than 500 sq km. Only 73 of 668 parks fall under this category.
For category B, parks with an area between 200 sq km and 500 sq km, the zone will be 1 km. As many as 115 parks fall under this category.
In case of category C, with 85 parks between 100 and 200 sq km, the CEC had suggested that the zones should be up to 500 metres. In D category parks, where a majority of parks (346) having area less than 100 sq km, the eco sensitive zone will be up to 100 metres.
"The standing committee has rejected the CEC recommendations," a senior ministry official told HT. The issue was raised by the non-official members of the panel who objected to a blanket policy on declaring eco-sensitive zones and wanted a site-specific policy.