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| Last Updated:14/11/2018

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Gujarat sitting on eco-sensitive zone plan for lion sanctuaries

AHMEDABAD: The lion population has increased by 27% per cent in Saurashtra, but vital lion sanctuaries in the state including Sasan Gir, Mityalal and Paniya are still waiting for government to declare the limits of their eco-sensitive buffer zone.

Supreme Court made it mandatory for all sanctuaries in the state to have an eco-sensitive buffer zone which will end the setting up of industries including hotels and construction other than that by local residents. Also, this would end mining in the areas under the eco-sensitive zone.

Forest department officials claim that they have sent the proposal to the Union government for final approval, but confirmed sources said the proposal has still not been sent to the Union government for final approval. Officials said that the Union ministry of environment and forests had in 2013 made it clear that no new proposal would be accepted after April 1, 2013. Officials said that the sanctuary's proposal is still in waiting and as a result of the absence of the eco-sensitive zone, construction is flourishing there.

Officials said that the department had once sent the proposal to the environment ministry and was rejected for technical issues. Ever since, then the revised proposal has not been sent to the Union government for final approval. Officials said that the Union ministry, while rejecting the proposal, asked the department to involve local people including the panchayats but it has been over two years and the plan has not been modified and sent.

The officer said that for Mitiyala and Paniya, the department had prepared one proposal, including these with Sasan Gir sanctuary and hence the these two sanctuaries are also without the nod from the Centre.