Ecosensitive zone around the notified National Shrine of Chambal, prohibits polluting activities within the prohibited area

NEW DELHI: The Center has notified an area of ​​870 square kilometers around the Chambal National Sanctuary in (ESZ), prohibiting polluting activities such as industries, large hydroelectric projects, mining, stone extraction and large constructions within the '' for conservation of its ecology. Unique geographical feature (ravines), bodies of water, flora and fauna.

According to this notification, the state government is now required to prepare a 'zonal master plan' to take care of the EEZ and a 'ecotourism master plan' to promote tourism within the specific area of ​​the sanctuary that houses 75% of the species population in critical danger of Gharial and 180 species of migratory birds.

The sanctuary, located on and along the Chambal River, one of the cleanest rivers in India, in the Sheopur, Morena and Bhind districts of Madhya Pradesh, also houses the national, the Ganges dolphin, fresh water, and nine species of freshwater turtles.

The extension of ESZ varies from zero (due to the interstate border) two kilometers from the Chambal National Shrine in the state of Madhya Pradesh, said the notification, issued by the Union Ministry of Environment on February 20.

The measure will also help in the Center's broader plan to develop Chambal ravines in one of the ecotourism centers and best agricultural practices in the country. Being treated as a landscape conservation model, the Center will develop the ravines in the Sheopur and Morena districts of the state as part of its Green Agriculture project.

The project is being implemented by the Center in collaboration with the (GEF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations . The project landscape in Madhya Pradesh covers 97,882 hectares that encompass deeply eroded ravines, formed over centuries, as a result of surface runoff and monsoon rain in deep alluvial soils.

Before notifying the ESZ, the ministry published its draft objections and suggestions from interested parties in June last year. However, the ministry received no objection or suggestion for a period of 60 days from the date of publication of the draft.

The notification includes a description of the EEZ boundary, a map of the protected areas that demarcate the Area and a list of the villages that are within the Zone with their geographical coordinates.

The Madhya Pradesh government is expected to prepare the zonal master plan within two years in consultation with local authorities. The Plan will be a reference document for monitoring all activities within the EEZ. It will regulate the development in the Zone and will adhere to prohibited and regulated activities.

Activities related to organic agriculture, the use of renewable energy, agroforestry and the use of ecological transport will be promoted within the EEZ as permitted activities. The proposed ecotourism master plan ’will form a component of the onal zonal master plan’.

Under the ecotourism master plan, new hotel and resort constructions will not be allowed within one kilometer from the sanctuary boundary or to the extension of the EEZ. All sites of valuable natural heritage in the ESZ, such as the reserve of genetic reserve, rock formations, waterfalls, springs, gorges, caves and cliffs will be preserved as part of the zonal master plan.