SC Prohibits Mining and Factories in 1 km Proximity of National Parks, Sanctuaries

Given how fragile wildlife habitats have become in the current changing climatic conditions, the Supreme Court (SC) prohibits mining activity or factory establishments in a 1 km proximity of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. The court has also issued a bunch of directives on controlling activities in and around these eco-sensitive zones across the nation.

It has been ruled that without the permission of the Chief Conservator of Forests, manufacturing and similar activities underway along these zones will be prohibited. The Chief Conservator of each state will make a list of existing structures that fall under the eco-sensitive zone description and submit the proposal within three months. To indulge in such activities, people will need to seek permission within six months from the principal chief conservator of forests.

SC Prohibits Mining, Factories in 1 km Proximity of National Parks, Sanctuaries

Image: Kaziranga National Park

The court guidelines said;

In the event any activity is already being undertaken within the one kilometre or extended buffer zone (ESZ), as the case may be, of any wildlife sanctuary or national park which does not come within the ambit of prohibited activities as per the 9th February 2011 Guidelines, such activities may continue with permission of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of each State or Union Territory and the person responsible for such activities in such a situation shall obtain necessary permission within a period of six months.

The SC further prohibits any mining within wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. The order came after a petition about issues including forest preservation and habitat loss.

A bench comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Aniruddha Bose said that no permanent structure shall be permitted near the prime wildlife regions. The court had earlier wanted to issue a 10-kilometre buffer zone as per a Central Empowered Committee recommendation, to which states opposed stating that the order would be impractical.

A 2011 order prohibited commercial mining, setting up of sawmills and industries causing pollution, commercial use of firewood, the establishment of major hydroelectric projects, and use of production of any hazardous substances in natural water bodies or terrestrial areas. It also banned activities related to tourism like flying over the national park area by any aircraft or hot air balloons, and the discharge of effluents and solid waste in these regions.


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