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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightKerala govt to exclude...

Kerala govt to exclude human settlements from ESZs

Kerala govt to exclude human settlements from ESZs

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government decided on Wednesday to exclude human settlements from the eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) imposed along the boundaries of protected forests. The pivotal decision will amend the LDF government's 2019 decision, The Indian Express reported.

In 2019, the Pinarayi Vijayan government decided to impose a 1 km area around the protected forest boundaries, including human settlements. The area should be ESZes.

The fresh decision is expected to lift the Pinarayi government's face after the Opposition had raised allegations that the administration was not sincere in protecting farmers' interests.

After the Supreme Court's June 3 verdict to impose 1 km ESZs around national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and protected forests, the state has been witnessing widespread protests in the hilly regions. The unrest was led by the Opposition Congress and the Catholic Church, both unleashing attacks on the state government. The Opposition alleged that the government's 2019 decision shows its double standard toward farmers' interests.

The state Assembly had recently passed a unanimous resolution asking the Centre to drop all human settlements, agricultural areas and civic infrastructure from ESZ.

The ESZ issue in Kerala found mileage after CPI(M) 's student's wing, SFI, vandalized Wayanad MP and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's office in the district, alleging that Rahul did not actively respond to the issue.

After the attack, the government held a high-level meeting to assess the situation. To alleviate the fears of those dwelling close to protected forests, the Kerala government also decided to submit a modification petition before the Supreme Court and approach the Central Empowered Committee to get exemptions on the verdict, TIE reports.

In Kerala, there are 23 protected forests, and 12 out of them are wildlife sanctuaries, three bird sanctuaries, five national parks and two tiger reserves. According to 2019-20, the state has a forest cover of 11,521 square km, 29.65 per cent of the state's total geographical area.

And this ratio is much higher than the national average of 6.09 per cent. In 2017, forest covers increased by 823 square km more.

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TAGS:Kerala LDF government Pinarayi Vijayan Supreme Court eco-sensitive zones CPI(M) SFI Rahul Gandhi MP Wayanad 
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