Zonal Master Plan of Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone Approved

Published: July 17, 2020

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has approved the Zonal Master Plan (ZMP) prepared by the Uttarakhand Government and appraised by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, for the Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone.


Background:                                                                                         

The Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone notification from Gamukh to Uttarkashi spanning an area of 4179.59 sq. km was first issued by the Union Government in 2012. It kept in mind the issues of the local people so that their rights were not affected at any cost. This was amended in 2018, after roping in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways as well for the project.

According to this plan, the Uttarakhand Government was required to prepare a Zonal Master Plan for the Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone. They have now submitted and also got necessary approval to go ahead with the project. The approval is going to give a fillip to the conservation and ecology of the area and also help in undertaking development activities in the region. It will also help in the speedy execution of the ChaarDhaam Project of the government.

What is Eco-Sensitive Zone?

Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) are areas within the radius of 10 km around protected areas, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. ESZs were notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change under the Environment Protection Act 1986. If the area is within a sensitive corridor or ecologically important, the distance can be extended from the 10 km width as specified in the normal cases. The activities allowed in the ESZs are normally classified into prohibited activities, regulated activities and permitted activities.

What is ChaarDhaam Project?

It is a project launched by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for the improvement of connectivity for Chaardhaam i.e. Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri in Uttarakhand. The cost of the whole project has been pegged as Rs 12000 crores and it is aimed at developing 889 km length of national highways. The project is being implemented by Uttarakhand State Public Works Department, Border Roads Organization and National Highway & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited. It is being carried out in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction mode.

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