Taking exception to the Haryana and Punjab governments for not keeping the Chandigarh administration in the loop while delineating an ecosensitive zone (ESZ) around the Sukhna wildlife sanctuary, the UT forest department has urged the environment and forests ministry not to consider proposals by both states unless consulted by the UT.
The Punjab government has already submitted its proposal to identify area of a mere 100 metres around the sanctuary as an ESZ without consulting the Chandigarh administration. According to sources, Haryana, which has yet to submit its proposal, plans to declare an area of up to 1 km around the sanctuary as an ecosensitive zone.
UT environment department director Santosh Kumar asserted the sanctuary is in the jurisdiction of the Chandigarh administration and the latter had to be consulted by both state governments before submitting any proposal.
He added his department had urged the ministry not to notify any ecosensitive zone around the sanctuary as it had been excluded from the process by both governments.
“The ministry should issue a notification only after our consent is taken,” he said.
At a meeting held recently in New Delhi, the ministry had directed the Haryana government to submit its proposal at the earliest, with the three stakeholders being asked to arrive at a consensus on the issue.
Last year the Chandigarh administration had submitted its proposal that identified an area ranging from 2 km to 2.75 km around the sanctuary as an ecosensitive zone. Of the total catchment area of Sukhna Lake, 29 sq km falls under the jurisdiction of the UT, 10.22 sq km under that of Haryana and 2.77 sq km under that of Punjab.
The ESZ draft has been sent to the Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun.
The UT administration has recommended low density and low rise buildings in the vicinity of the Sukhna sanctuary. It will take a final decision on the permissible height of buildings only after the proposed ecosensitive zone is notified by the ministry.
According to a senior official, after the notification an “ESZ management plan” will be drawn up for implementing the recommendations in the proposal before inviting objections from the public.
Till the proposal is notified, activities that have been prohibited in the area in accordance with ministry guidelines will be barred within 10 km of the sanctuary’s boundary.