Hotels, restaurants, resorts and commercial helicopter services can be set up in the eco-sensitive zones or buffer zones around wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, if the Supreme Court accepts recommendations of an expert panel.
In its report submitted to the special forest bench, the SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has categorised the wildlife sanctuaries, saying regulated industrial activities can operate in eco-sensitive zones falling in categories A and B sanctuaries that includes around 1.4 square kilometer of the 1.6 square km of parks and sanctuaries.
Eco-sensitive zone in category A, having protected forest area of 500 sq km, would be two kilometer around the sanctuary. In category B that has protected area between 200 sq km to 500 sq km the buffer zone is one kilometer.
However, in category C and D which have lesser protected area the buffer zone is 500 meter and 100 meter respectively.
The CEC also recommended prohibition on operation of hazardous industries, brick kilns and wood-based industries in the eco-sensitive zones.
There are 102 national parks and 525 wildlife sanctuaries in India. If the CEC recommendations are implemented regulated activities would start in around 80% of the sanctuaries and national parks.
A forest bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam on Friday issued notice to the Centre, seeking response to CEC report.