SUBJECT : Eco zone around Jaikawadi Bird Sanctuary soon?

Aurangabad, March 27th: The area around Jaikawadi Bird Sanctuary in Aurangabad and Ahmednagar districts in Maharashtra could soon be declared an eco-sensitive zone.

According to a recent draft notification issued by the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), the proposed eco-sensitive zone will spread across an area of 141.05 sq km, covering 100 villages in both districts.
The move has been welcomed by nature-lovers, who have appealed to the Centre and the state to go-ahead with the proposed eco-sensitive zone without succumbing to pressure from certain sections of society.
Officially notified as a bird sanctuary in 1986, Jaikawadi Bird Sanctuary covers an area of 341.05 sq km and is hailed as a biodiversity hotspot.
Speaking with TOI, environmentalist Kishor Pathak said the eco-sensitive zone would effectively protect the natural habitats of different creatures living on the fringe areas of Jaikawadi Bird Sanctuary.
Pathak said the eco-sensitive zone would strengthen efforts towards environmental conservation in and around the sanctuary.
It would also check unwanted manmade activities have been posing a threat to flora and fauna in the sanctuary and nearby areas, he said.
As per procedure, the state government is expected to prepare a Zonal Master Plan within two years from the date of publication of final notification in the official gazette, in consultation with local people and adhering to the laid down stipulations. The plan will be prepared in consultation with the concerned state departments including environment, forest, urban development, tourism irrigation and the Public Works Department to integrate environmental and ecological considerations into it.
The masterplan will provide for restoration of denuded areas, conservation of existing water bodies, management of catchment areas, watershed management, groundwater management, soil and moisture conservation, needs of local community and such other aspects of the ecology and environment that need attention. 
It will demarcate all the existing and proposed worshipping places, village and urban settlements, types and kinds of forests, agricultural areas, fertile lands, green areas, horticultural areas, orchards, lakes and other water bodies.

Sunil Ohol, a senior official of the forest department, said several misconceptions have been associated with the eco-sensitive zone, which, he said was the cause of opposition from some sections of society.

The eco-sensitive zone distinctly classifies activities as prohibited, regulated and promoted ones. Without paying attention to these details, people start opposing such green moves. Having an eco-sensitive zone in place around Jaikawadi Bird Sanctuary would help protect salient features of the sanctuary, said Ohol, a deputy conservator of forests, who has been recently transferred.

He said draft notification was open for public feedback for 60 days since it was published in gazette on January 6. Ohol said public suggestions and objections were directly submitted to the Centre, and therefore the Forest Department has no off hand information about such feedback.

Source: Times of India