Forest dept plans to declare area around Great Indian Bustard sanctuary as eco-sensitive zone

In order to protect the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard bird and its habitat, the forest department has plans to announce 400 square km area surrounding the 366.76 square km Great Indian Bustard sanctuary in Solapur as a buffer or Eco-Sensitive zone. Once the decision comes into affect, no mining activity and setting up of chemical factory in the buffer area would be allowed.

Few weeks back, mid-day had reported that how the environmentalists and experts had demanded that the 10 square kilometre area outside the GIB sanctuary should be a No Pesticide Zone. It should be noted that GIB is a critically endangered bird with its population less than 300 in the country and 3 in Maharashtra.

On January 2, mid day had done a story (Eco-activists demand no pesticide zone near Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary) in which it was stated that in order to halt the declining numbers of the Great Indian Bustard, environmentalists want forest department to declare 10-km area around bird sanctuary in Solapur as pesticide free.

It seems that the authorities have taken a serious note about the same as Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has asked the state forest department to make sure that 400 square km area surrounding the 366.76 sq km GIB sanctuary should be announced as ESA or buffer zone and in that area no kind of mining activity and no chemical industry would be allowed

Speaking to mid-day a senior forest department official said, “The union Ministry of Environment and Forest has told the state forest department to identify area admeasuring 400 square km surrounding the 366.76 square km to notify as eco-sensitive zone or buffer zone. In the area that would be announced as ESA, there would be no mining activity and chemical industries that would be allowed and this decision will prove beneficial for the conservation of the critically endangered great Indian bustard.”

It should be noted that this also means that no chemical industry and mining activity would be allowed. But, if the private land of any farmer or individual person goes in the buffer zone that would be created, the state government would provide monetary incentives to the framers.

Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Pune (Wildlife) Sunil Limaye said, “We are waiting for the final notification. Only after it comes, the decision on the buffer zone would be taken.”

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