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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Villagers being misled on Tadoba eco-zones

ByVijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Mar 13, 2013, 07.21 AM IST Genetic anomaly linked to Alzheimer's diseaseCIDCO bags honour at the National Energy Conservation Award, 2012Kids with genetic disorders seek govt helpResearchers uncover genetic cause of eczemaIndo-Russian collaboration for genetic research NAGPUR: After a misleading campaign by a section of politicians against eco-sensitive zones (ESZs), greens have pitched in to allay fears of villagers on the issue of relocation of villages in these zones. A misleading campaign is being run by local politicians, including some MLAs, that hundreds of villages falling in the ESZs around the protected areas (PAs), especially Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), will be shifted after eco-sensitive area notification. The state government has already sent 19 proposals for ESZ to Centre. Satpuda Foundation, a leading NGO in Central India and also a member of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) headed by prime minister, has said that not a single village would be relocated when ESZs are notified. "After leaders misguided the villagers, there were protests in Chandrapur. Relocation of villages is not required in ESZ," said Kishor Rithe, president of the Foundation. The Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has already issued guidelines for ESZ to be notified and the activities to be permitted, regulated and prohibited have been clearly mentioned in these guidelines. The National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) 2002-2016 indicates areas outside the PA network are often vital ecological corridor links and must be protected to prevent isolation of fragments of biodiversity which will not survive in the long run. Hence, ESZ are mandatory. "Mining and quarrying activities are banned in ESZs. Many coal mines are proposed near TATR. This is the prime reason why politicians are carrying out a vicious campaign," Rithe said. "They had similarly instigated villagers when buffer zone around TATR was to be notified three years ago. More than three years after its notification, not a single village has been resettled in the buffer," said Bandu Dhotre of Eco-Pro, a NGO working for wildlife conservation in Chandrapur. The Satpuda Foundation has urged the state wildlife department to reach out to the villagers and tell them about ESZs. MoEF has extended the deadline to all the states to submit ESZ proposals by May 15, 2013. "A section of leaders is creating confusion in the minds of the people," said Suresh Chopne, president of Green Planet, Chandrapur. Why eco-sensitive zones? * National Board for Wildlife had on January 21, 2002, decided to notify eco-fragile zones under Section 3 (v) of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 * This was done to protect ecologically vital links and corridors with other areas that is important to preserve genetic diversity of wildlife * The action plan also indicates that 'all identified areas around sanctuaries and wildlife corridors be declared as ecologically fragile * In ESZs only non-polluting, non-hazardous small-scale and service industries like agriculture, floriculture, horticulture and agro-based units will be permitted * Mining and quarrying are banned. Many coal mines are proposed near TATR. This is main reason why state is delaying notifying ESZs.

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