CM writes to PM on eco-sensitive zones around wildlife park

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 7 (PTI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention to ensure densely populated areas around the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary were excluded by the Environment Ministry while notifying eco-sensitive zones.

Considering what he saw as a genuine apprehension of the people living adjacent to the sanctuary, the Chief Minister in a letter to Modi said the latter should intervene and give directions to the Ministry for an early hearing on the matter.

Areas near the sanctuary such as Tholpetty, Kattkkulam, Panavalli, Kurukkanmoola, Chaligadha and Kappistore, Cheeyambam , Moodakolly, Cheeral need to be excluded from the notification, the Chief Minister said.

Otherwise, it would affect the lives of the people as they have only modest means of livelihood,he said in the letter a copy of which was released to the media here.

The Kerala government had made recommendations for notifying eco-sensitive zones around 21 protected areas in December 2019.

However, after considering the concerns of the people near the sanctuary, the government submitted an amended proposal for the draft notification on January 13 last year as per which the extent of eco-sensitive zone measures to 88.2 sq kms.

But, the notification issued by the Ministry recently notified 118.59 sq kms around the sanctuary as an eco- sensitive zone.

The sanctuary withan extent of 344.44 kms has different species of wild animals, and is home to the rare and endangered species of floraand fauna.

Meanwhile, protests were held against the notification in Wayanad district.

The supporters of the ruling LDF (Left Democratic Front) blocked traffic at various places in the district on Sunday and the opposition Congress-led UDF (United Democratic Front) has planned a hartal on Monday.

Activists of both the fronts had burned copies of the draft notification and staged demonstrations in the district on Friday. PTI UD NVG NVG