By Vishwa Mohan
Mining and other human activities will not be allowed in minimum radial buffer zone of one kilometer around six wildlife sanctuaries in Goa. The buffer zone of these protected areas will soon be formally notified as eco-sensitive zones in the state.
Accepting the report of an expert committee to this effect, the Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) on Thursday issued an order determining a realistic natural boundary and buffer zone to protect wildlife and biodiversity in these sanctuaries.
These protected areas include Cotigao and Netravali wildlife sanctuaries in South Goa and Bhagwan Mahaveer, Madei, Bondla and Dr Salim Ali wildlife sanctuaries in North Goa. Though most of the mining activities have been stopped within and outside the close perimeter of these sanctuaries for the past over two years pending a Supreme Court order on the matter, the move of the central ministry may be seen as a step to re-open mining in the areas beyond those identified protected buffer zones once the apex court accepts the findings of the committee.
The environment ministry has take note of the fact that the entire economic activity cannot be stopped in other areas in absence of a clear-cut policy and guidelines considering that over 30% of the state's population depends for livelihood on mining and allied activities.
Taking somewhat realistic stand over the issue, the MoEF's Committee has divided these sanctuaries into two categories in terms of stopping all human activities.
All activities will, accordingly, be banned in four protected areas - Cotigao, Madei, Bondla and Dr Salim Ali - the moment the ministry comes out with its formal notification. More....