176 eco sensitive zone proposals approved so far: Javadekar

New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) Taking a snipe at the previous UPA government, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said he had so far approved 176 proposals for eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) around protected areas while the last government issued just 15 proposals in eight years.

However, the minister clarified that of the total, draft notification had been issued for 31 proposals while another 32 had been cleared.

Interacting with the media here, Javadekar said he took a review meeting of all the 624 proposals from different parts of the country and decided that there had to clarity on the issue.

“I have approved 176 proposals so far whereas no complete proposals for declaring ESZs were processed for almost eight years eight and only about 15 notifications were issued between 2006 and the middle of 2014,” he said.

“We have notified 63 proposals in total. Draft notification for 31 have been issued and another 32 have been cleared,” he added.

The ministry would process all remaining proposals by March 31, 2016, Javadekar said.

The Supreme Court had in 2006 said that a periphery of 10 km around protected areas which will be considered as eco sensitive zones till the time states submit their own reports on the demarcation of boundaries, he said.

“There is lot of confusion on the issue of eco sensitive zone. We should not maintain confusion and must bring in clarity be defining the boundaries around protected areas. This is major achievement by our government,” the minister said.

The ministry had on Aug 19, released the final notification on the ESZ around Okhla Bird Sanctuary, giving relief to thousands of distressed house owners around the sanctuary located in Noida.

The ESZ would comprise 100 metres from the bird sanctuary’s eastern, western and southern boundary and up to 1.27 km from its northern boundary.

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