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Kerala Govt Fulfilled Promise to Exclude Inhabited Areas from Buffer Zones: CM Vijayan

In Kerala
December 07, 2023

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday claimed that his government has fulfilled its promise to the people to exclude inhabited areas from the buffer zones around forest areas.

Vijayan said that the Supreme Court has allowed Kerala ‘s plea seeking review of the apex court’s June 3, 2022 order directing that a buffer zone of one kilometre be maintained around forests and sanctuaries across the country.

As a result, an opportunity has arisen for checking once again whether any population centers are included in the earlier draft notification and to exclude such areas completely from buffer zones, while preparing the revised draft notification, the CM said at a press conference here on the sidelines of the Nava Kerala Sadas — an outreach programme of the state government.

He said that since the review plea has been allowed, a draft notification can be prepared in respect of the areas for which time limit to submit the revised draft notifications, as sought by the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment, had lapsed.

Vijayan also said that the apex court decision was a solution to the long-time concerns of the people who would be affected by the delineation of the buffer zones.

He said that the Kerala government had sought, in its review plea, that residential areas should be completely excluded from the buffer zones taking into account the special circumstances of the state.

The CM also said that earlier this year, the Supreme Court had clarified that the one km limit was not applicable to the draft notifications and final notifications submitted earlier by the states to the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment, delineating the buffer zone areas.

The opposition Congress-UDF has been accusing the Left government of showing complete negligence and mismanagement on the issue and making things complex for the people.