Environment Ministry issues final notification on Eco-Sensitive Zone in Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai
The Government today issued the Final Notification for an Eco-Sensitive Zone area of 59.46 sq kms of which 19.25 sq km is forest land and 40.21 sq km is non-forest land in Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai suburb. Announcing the decision, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Anil Madhav Dave, said, “After completing all processes, the final notification has been done. Now from its boundary, 100 metres to upto 4 kms, we have marked it. The extent (of ESZ) varies at different places taking into consideration its geographical area. No construction will take place in this (ESZ) area”. The Minister added that the step has been taken with a view to avoid man-animal conflict.
The Eco-Sensitive Zone has a minimum extent of 100 metres and maximum extent of up to 4 km from the Park boundary. The objective of notifying Eco-Sensitive Zones is to create a buffer as further protection around Protected Areas (PAs) such as National Parks and Wildlife sanctuaries.
The Notification also provides that in areas around Housing Societies and with high human habitation, and in view of the fact that the National Park has a large population of leopards, a high wall with fencing may be erected to ensure that man-animal conflict is avoided.
In order to conserve and protect the unique habitat in and around the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a draft notification S.O (229 (E) was published on 22.01.2016 around the Park as Eco-Sensitive Zone from ecological and environmental point of view and for regulating development around the National Park.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had received a large number of responses from elected representatives, various organisations and agencies such as the Bombay Municipal Corporation, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation and others on the Draft Notification.
Taking these into consideration, an area of 1.65 sq km land for the Mumbai Metro Rail Shed of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, temple etc has been excluded in the Final Notification published on 05.12.2016.
Due to its unique location in the middle of a bustling city, any new construction within ESZ shall be in accordance with Bombay Municipal Bye-Laws and Approved Development Plans and applicable laws and regulations under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act and vide provisions of the ESZ notification.
About Sanjay Gandhi National Park
Sanjay Gandhi National Park is spread over three districts – Palgar, Thane and Mumbai Suburb and falls within the Tehsils of Kurla, Borivalli and Thane. The National Park is home to a number of endangered species of flora and fauna and harbours approximately 800 species of flowering plants, 45 species of mammals, 43 species of reptiles, 38 species of snakes, 12 species of amphibians, 300 species of birds, 150 species of butterflies. Notable amongst them are large mammalian species such as leopard, wild boar, four-horned antelope, black-naped hare, wild cat, jackal and porcupine and many bird species such as Lesser grebe, Purple Heron, Smaller Egret, Lesser Whistling Teal, Pariah Kite. Many reptiles, including snakes as Indian Cobra and Viper are also found in the National Park.