Goa government has urged the Union Environment Ministry to have a zero buffer zone around Salim Ali bird sanctuary in the State and simultaneously reduce the buffer area limit around remaining six wildlife sanctuaries.
State Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar met Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in Delhi on Tuesday and submitted a proposal to reduce buffer zone limits for wildlife sanctuaries, which he said will save the economic activities around these protected areas. "The State has urged that there should not be any buffer zone for Salim Ali bird sanctuary, a protected area near Panaji, across Mandovi River," Parrikar told reporters here today.
He said that the state government also demanded that Cotigao wildlife sanctuary should have less than one kilometre buffer zone. "The remaining five wildlife sanctuaries should have one kilometre buffer zone with an option to phase out existing mining activity in these areas over next ten years," he said.
"Two of the wildlife sanctuaries were notified when the state was under President's Rule in 1999, which has left 32 villages trapped in it. The final boundary of these two wildlife sanctuaries is in dispute. The state has demanded that mining activity within one kilometre of the wildlife sanctuaries should be allowed to be phased out in ten years," the chief minister said.
Parrikar said that Goa figured second after Sikkim in terms of forest cover. "The buffer zone in Sikkim is between 25-200 metres despite the fact that the state falls under fragile Himalayan ranges," he added.
The chief minister said that Javadekar had asked the state government to submit a "case to case" proposal in this regard to the union government.
Parrikar said he also expressed reservations over Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats amid fear that the report might declare a large number of areas in the coastal state as eco-sensitive zones. "The minister has promised us that the state will be taken into confidence before coming up with the final conclusion on the report," Parrikar said.
"The Kasturirangan report has its own perils. If you allow implementation of the report, then let the state be declared as Union Territory and run by the Central government. The report freezes economic activity in the State. You cannot even have dairy farming in the eco sensitive zone. Nothing will be left to the State," the chief minister said.
Parrikar also demanded that a bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) be set up in Goa as the officers have to frequently travel to Pune in neighbouring Maharashtra to attend various cases as the court is there.
"I also expressed apprehensions on the manner..and blanket orders (that) are issued by the tribunal which are beyond its scope," he added.