Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey informed Rajya Sabha today that 92 Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) and 2 Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) have been notified in 13 states of the Indian Himalayan region.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha, he said, "In order to manage and conserve biodiversity across the Protected Areas, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) around the protected areas."
"As part of the wildlife conservation strategy, in the year 2002, it was decided that an area around each protected area requires to be notified as Eco-Sensitive Zone for creating a buffer as further protection around Protected Areas (PAs)," he added.
Mr Choubey further stated that the very purpose of declaring ESZ is to create some kind of "Shock Absorber" for the specialized Ecosystem, such as protected areas or other natural sites, to act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
In order to protect the biodiversity in areas having ecological significance, Ministry also notifies Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA), which have unique biological resources, and require special attention for their conservation.
"Survey and identification of ESZs are conducted by the respective State Governments for consideration of the Central Government for declaration of the ESZs in respective States around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries as per the guidelines formulated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC)," he further stated.
On the basis of proposals and recommendations of the State Government, Ministry notified the ESZs under the Environment (Protection) Act, of 1986.
"Section '3' of the ESZ Notification provides the guidelines for the preparation of the Zonal Master Plan (ZMP) by the respective State Government and mandates the preparation of the Tourism Master Plan forming part of the Zonal Master Plan on the basis of the Carrying Capacity study of the concerned ESZ," the statement reads.
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