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Gurgaon: Centre directs state to submit Asola Bhatti buffer zone proposal by October 1

Since the Asola Bhatti sanctuary lies on the Delhi-Haryana border, turning it into an eco-sensitive zone would require the consent of the two governments

gurgaon Updated: Sep 16, 2017 22:25 IST
Ipsita Pati
Ipsita Pati
Hindustan Times
Asola Bhati wildlife sanctuary,Ministry of Environment,Forests
Creation of an ESZ is in keeping with a 2011 Supreme Court order to all states to declare buffer zones around their respective forests.(HT FILE PHOTO)

The Ministry of Environment, Forests (MoEF) has directed the Haryana government to send by October 1, 2017, a complete proposal for creating an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) around the Asola Bhatti wildlife sanctuary.

MoEF wrote a letter to this effect in the first week of September to PP Bhojwad, additional principal chief conservator of forests, Haryana.

Creation of an ESZ is in keeping with a 2011 Supreme Court order to all states to declare buffer zones around their respective forests. The guideline states that ecologically important patches crucial for landscape linkage should also be included in the ESZ.

Since the Asola Bhatti sanctuary is at the Delhi-Haryana interstate border, creating a buffer zone here requires consent of both states.

“We have completed everything from Delhi, but the proposal we got from Haryana is still incomplete,” Dr Vinod Joon, director, MoEF, had said.

The proposal from Haryana government has been due for two years now.

The proposal Haryana had sent covered large chunk of urbanized areas which cannot be included. Also, it did not have geo-coordinates and a map. Additionally, the currently proposed 100-metre buffer leaves out more than 95% the Aravalli hill areas, like Mangar, Bandhwari and other villages, crucial for viability of the Asola sanctuary.

On Friday, conservator of wildlife, south Haryana, Vinod Kumar said, “We have submitted the proposal to the (Haryana) government this week and are waiting for a nod to proceed. Once we get clearance we will submit the proposal to MoEF. We also have to submit the proposal to NGT.”

In the revised proposal, Haryana has added the Gurgaon-Faridabad road and removed urbanised areas that were earlier included.

Read I Activists oppose govt’s move to reduce Asola Bhatti buffer zone

After the final nod from MoEF, a patch will be mapped out that will connect Asola Bhatti to the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan.

The buffer zone is important to provide connectivity between Asola in Delhi/Haryana and Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan to protect wildlife. Leopards, striped hyenas and jackals have been reported to use this corridor from either side. However, increasing encroachments and infrastructure projects have been eating into the corridor.

First Published: Sep 16, 2017 22:25 IST