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Declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zone: Villagers in TN adjacent to tiger reserve called for hearing

Chennai, July 23 (BPNS)

With the Union Ministry for Forest, Environment, and Climate Change planning to establish an eco-sensitive zone 1.5 km around the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR), the villagers of 6 villages adjacent to it are called for a public hearing. The hearing scheduled for July 27 at Kovinthaparei village will be presided over by the District Revenue Officer.

The six villages from where villages have been invited for the sitting are Melaambur Part 2, Sivasailam, Tharmapuram Madam, Kovinthaperi, Kadayam Perumputhu part 2, and Mela Kadayam. The meeting will clearly convey to the villages the difficulties they will have to face if the 1.5 km adjacent to KMTR is made an Eco-sensitive zone.

Once an area is declared as ESZ, then activities including mining, setting of industries causing water, air and, sound and noise pollution, soil pollution will not be allowed. In a similar manner establishment of brick kiln industries, and hydroelectric power projects also will not be allowed.

However, the district administration in a statement on Saturday said that felling of trees, construction activities, commercial establishment of hotels and resorts, small scale non –polluting industries, erection of electric and communication towers, laying of cable and other infrastructure can be permitted in ESZ areas after adhering to certain stringent conditions.

It may be noted that the farmers and political parties were up in arms in these areas after information had reached the villages regarding the setting up of ESZ zones.

Forest and Revenue officials told BPNS that the meeting to be held on 27 July with the villagers who would be affected, will not fetch any results. The departments are however keen that such dialogues with the local public are held regularly to create proper awareness among them before the ESZ is declared.