One-km-long buffer zone around forests: Kerala to move Supreme Court on Monday

Published on Jul 14, 2022 07:55 PM IST

On June 3, the apex court ordered that all protected areas, including national parks, wildlife reserves and sanctuaries, need a one-km buffer zone banning all other activities.

Kerala forest minister AK Saseendran (right) with Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav in Delhi on Thursday. (Twitter Photo)
Kerala forest minister AK Saseendran (right) with Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav in Delhi on Thursday. (Twitter Photo)

In the wake of protests in at least three districts, the Kerala government has now decided to move the Supreme Court on Monday with a review petition against the recent apex court order to earmark a one-kilometre buffer zone (ecologically sensitive zone) around protected forest areas, state forest minister AK Saseendran said in Delhi on Thursday.

Saseendran met Union environment minister Bhupendra Yadav in Delhi and said that the central government has pledged support to the state and that Yadav will visit Kerala in the second week of August to understand the issue.

“I had a fruitful discussion with the Union minister. I apprised him about the ground situation in the state and he promised me to visit the state on August 10,” Saseendran said.

Last week, the state assembly passed a unanimous resolution, requesting the Centre’s intervention to exempt human habitats and agricultural land from the purview of the recent directive.

On June 3, the apex court ordered that all protected areas, including national parks, wildlife reserves and sanctuaries, need a one-km buffer zone banning all other activities. The court issued the order while hearing a public interest litigation seeking protection of forest land in the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu.

Kerala has been witnessing a series of protests following the order, with many areas in Idukki, Wayanad and Pathanamthitta districts observing several shutdowns. There are 24 wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the state and around 25,000 families will be evicted if the SEZ buffer zone is implemented, protestors claimed, adding that nearly 2,50,000 acres of land will turn into buffer zones.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

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