UP TILL now, mostly we heard about opposition to industry in the name of livelihood of marginal farmers and ecology. The extended limits of the proposed Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) for Similipal Wildlife Sanctuary, has triggered a controversy of a different kind. Local leaders, fearing their people would miss the bus of industrialisation if restrictions are put on mining and other industrial activities, have opposed the boundary of the protected area.
Similipal Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 2200 sq km and the proposed ESZ would cover about 2000 sq km. Industrial activities including construction, mining, tree felling, quarrying, noise pollution, discharge of effluents will be banned in the proposed area.
Stone quarrying and crusher units, within the vicinity of the sanctuary will be regulated. Existing mines will be permitted under tight control and no new mines will be allowed to come up within the 10 km of the zone. The proposal also states that polluting industries will not be allowed. A zonal committee, headed by the Collector, will decide on the activities that can be taken up within the sensitive zone.
The draft ESZ proposal is currently with the Forest and Environment Department and they’ve asked for various statistics of industrial activities around the ESZ so as to take a realistic view. Hope the logjam would be broken, sooner than later, and the policy makers would devise optimal policies; whereby, both- the ecology and industry - would co-exist in a symbiotic manner.