New Delhi: The Supreme Court today granted two more weeks "as last opportunity" to states which have defaulted in notifying buffer zones around tiger reserves to regulate commercialisation of revenue land around big cat habitats and help preserve the endangered species.
A bench of justices Swatanter Kumar and Ibrahim Kalifulla passed the direction after it was brought to its notice that several states had failed to notify the zones despite an earlier direction from the apex court.
Rajasthan`s counsel, however, told the court that the state had already notified the zone.
On April 4, the apex court had asked Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra to notify the zones within three months.
But during today`s hearing, the court was informed that most of the states had not complied with the order. UP and Jharkhand said that they were not served with notice of the last order. Hence, the court passed the fresh direction.
Under Section 38(b) and Explanation 1 & 2 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the states have to notify the list of core and buffer areas of tiger reserves in their respective jurisdiction.
Under the Act, buffer zones are the areas peripheral to the critical tiger habitats or core areas providing supplementary habitats for dispersing tigers and offering scope for co-existence of human activity.
Conservationist Ajay Dubey in his PIL had demanded removal commercial tourism activities out of core or critical tiger habitats in the tiger reserves.
The buffer zones constitute the fringe areas of tiger reserves up to a distance of 10 kms.
It has been alleged that in violation of the conservation norms, authorities in various states had permitted large-scale construction of hotels, resorts and tourism projects, thereby gravely disturbing wildlife activities.