Srinagar- In a move aimed to protect Kashmir’s biodiversity, the government of India has suggested a slew of measures to Jammu and Kashmir administration, including restrictions on commercial mining, stone quarrying, crushing units and industries besides establishment of major hydroelectric projects in the eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) of the Valley.
The centre has also asked the LG Manoj Sinha led dispensation to constitute a monitoring committee for monitoring the eco-sensitive zones (ESZs) in the UT.
In a notification issued, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), has said that all activities in the ESZs shall be governed by the provisions of the Environment Act and the rules made thereunder including the Coastal Regulation Zone, 2011 and the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and other applicable laws including the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (69 of 1980), the Indian Forest Act, 1927 (16 of 1927), the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (53 of 1972).
Notably, the government has designated three wildlife sanctuaries in Kashmir as ESZs and has instructed the Union Territory administration to promptly outline their boundaries.
The notification says that there will be no industries that are causing pollution (Water, Air, Soil, Noise, etc. It adds that the use or production or processing of any hazardous substance is also prohibited.
“Only non-polluting industries shall be allowed within Eco-sensitive Zone as per the classification of Industries in the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board in February, 2016, as amended from time to time unless so specified in this notification, and in addition, the non-polluting cottage industries shall be promoted,” the notification reads.
Apart from this, the discharge of untreated effluents in natural water bodies or land area and setting up of new sawmills have also been banned.
The MoEFCC has also banned activities related to tourism like flying over the ESZs by hot air balloon, helicopter, drones, Microlites, etc.
The government order further bans vehicular pollution in these areas and has asked the administration to take steps to stop the same.
“The vehicular movement of traffic shall be regulated in a habitat friendly manner and specific provisions in this regard shall be incorporated in the Zonal Master Plan and till such time as the Zonal Master plan is prepared and approved by the competent authority in the Union Territory Government, the Monitoring Committee shall monitor compliance of vehicular movement under the relevant Acts and the rules and regulations made there under,” reads the notification.
The MoEFCC also instructs the administration to dispose of solid and Bio-Medical Waste in accordance with the Management Rules of 2016.
The government, however, has encouraged rain water harvesting, organic farming, adoption of green technology for all activities, cottage industries, including village artisans, etc, use of renewable energy and fuels, bio-gas, solar light etc in the ESZs of the Valley.
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