Kerala opposed to extending eco-sensitive zone width



Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government today said it was not in favour of extending eco-sensitive zone areas where there are human settlements near national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

"The state would submit its proposals to the Centre on the matter in tune with its concept that it did not want to cause any difficulties to people who are living for years", Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters during cabinet briefing.

However, he said the government has no objection to extending the ecologically sensitive areas beyond 12 kms where there were no human settlements.

The Centre had sought state's opinion to extend the width of Eco-sensitive zone's of 22 centres in the state, he said.

Government was committed to protect and conserve forest and wildlife. Kerala's forest cover was much higher than thenational average, he said, adding "forest encroachment will be dealt with firmly".

Chandy said recommendations on both the Madhav Gadgil ledWestern Ghats Ecology Expert Panel and also the report of K Kasturirangan Committee would adversely affect people living in forest fringe areas, he said.

PTI