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Eco-sensitive zone: State to draft master plan for Buxa Tiger Reserve

Eco-sensitive zone: State to draft master plan for Buxa Tiger Reserve
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Kolkata: The state government is all set to come up with a zonal master plan for Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR), which has been designated as an eco-sensitive zone by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The main purpose of the master plan is to ensure that the elephant corridor within the BTR is completely secured. Eco sensitive zones come under the Environment Protection Act. "The land use at Buxa will be regulated. Anyone seeking change in the land use will have to seek permission from competent authority," said V K Yadav, state Chief Wildlife Warden.

He added that the zonal master plan shall provide for restoration of denuded areas, conservation of existing water bodies, management of catchment areas, watershed management, groundwater management, soil and moisture conservation and needs of the local community.

The plan will demarcate all the existing worshipping places, villages and urban settlements, forests, agricultural areas, fertile lands, green patches, lakes and other water bodies with supporting maps.

Another important component is the master plan for eco-tourism, which will be prepared by the state Tourism department in consultation with the state Environment and Forest department. The zonal master plan will be made within two years.

It will also focus on preservation of sites of valuable heritage, regulation of noise and air pollution as per Environment Protection Act, scientific management of solid waste, plastic waste management, construction and demolition of waste management infrastructure, prevention of vehicular pollution.

"No new polluting industries shall be permitted to be set up within the Eco-sensitive Zone," said an official. Located in Alipurduar district, BTR is spread over 760.87 square kilometres. It supports a number of species specified under Schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, including Indian elephant, Gaur, leopard, Indian rock python, Malayan giant squirrel, leopard cat, fishing cat, Hill myna, Indian peafowl, Indian grey hornbill, among others.

"Jaldapara, Gorumara, Neora Valley and Singalila national parks are all expected to come under the category of eco sensitive zones. We are awaiting further notification from the Forest ministry in this regard," said an official of the Forest department.

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