The Supreme Court on Friday banned mining and developmental activities inside national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and within a 1-km buffer zone around them.
A bench comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Aniruddha Bose also said that no permanent structures or prohibited activities will be allowed within the 1-km eco-sensitive zone around such parks and sanctuaries.
For activities already undertaken within the 1-km buffer zone or extended buffer zone of any wildlife sanctuary or national park, and which don’t come within the ambit of prohibited activities as per the guidelines issued on February 9, 2011, the bench said such activities may continue with the permission of the principal chief conservator of forests of the state or Union Territory concerned.
The person responsible for such activities in such a situation will have to obtain permission within six months, the court said.
Such permission shall be given once the principal chief conservator of forests is satisfied that the activities concerned do not come within the prohibited list and were continuing prior to passing of this order in a legitimate manner, the bench said.
No new permanent structure shall be permitted to come up for whatsoever purpose within the ESZ, the court said. The court had earlier suggested a 10-km buffer zone as per a CEC recommendation, but states opposed it as impractical.
As per the 2011 guidelines, commercial mining, setting up of saw mills and industries causing pollution, commercial use of firewood, establishment of major hydroelectric projects, use of production of any hazardous substances, undertaking activities related to tourism like flying over the national park area by any aircraft or hot air balloons, discharge of effluents and solid waste in natural water bodies or terrestrial areas will be prohibited activities. (Economic Times)