New Delhi: The Environment Ministry has sought public comments on whether to declare an area up to 12 km from the boundary of the Navegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve (NNTR) in Maharashtra as eco-sensitive zone.
Nevegaon-Nagzira Tiger Reserve, spread over an area of 1976.12 sq km, is situated in Gondia and Bhandara districts.
In a draft notification, the Environment Ministry said it proposes to notify the area up to 12 km from the boundary of the reserve, comprising Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary, New-Nagzira sanctuary, Koka sanctuary and Navegaon National Park, as eco-sensitive zone.
The public comments have been sought within 60 days.
"Any person interested in making any objections or suggestions on the proposals contained in the draft notification may forward the same in writing, for consideration of the central government within the period so specified," the ministry added.
Once NNTR is notified as eco-sensitive zone, the ministry said that new construction of hotels and resorts would not be permitted within one km from the boundary of the reserve except for accommodation for temporary occupation of tourists related to eco-friendly tourism activities.
New mining (minor and major minerals), stone quarrying and crushing units would also be prohibited with immediate effect except for the domestic needs of bona fide local residents with reference to digging of earth for construction or repair of houses and for manufacture of the country tiles or bricks for personal use.
It would prohibit new or expansion of existing saw mills and polluting industries within the eco-sensitive zone.
For effective management of the eco-sensitive zone, the ministry has proposed that the state government should prepare a 'Zonal Master Plan' within a period of two years from the date of publication of final notification in the official gazette in consultation with local people.
The government aims to notify over 60 sanctuaries and national parks as 'eco-sensitive zones' this year to check the negative impact of industrialisation and unplanned development in and around protected areas.
Last year, 40 sanctuaries and national parks were notified as eco-sensitive zones. There are over 600 sanctuaries and national parks in the country, the official added.
The government is declaring land falling within 12-km radius of the boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries as 'eco-fragile zones' as part of the action plan envisaged in the 'Wildlife Conservation Strategy' adopted in 2002.
The purpose is to provide better sanctity to protected areas and check the adverse impact of unplanned development in and around such areas.