Environment Ministry declares 6,142 acres around Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary as Eco-Sensitive Zone
Mysuru: The Karnataka Government’s ambitious ‘Disneyland’ project at Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Reservoir is unlikely to get environmental clearance as the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has already declared Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Srirangapatna and its surrounding areas as Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ).
No new construction of hotels and resorts will be allowed within one kilometre radius of the bird sanctuary’s boundary or up to the extent of the ESZ. Any expansion of existing tourist facilities including resorts within the ESZ shall be in accordance with the Central guidelines.
While the Disneyland project was floated soon after the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) Coalition Government came to power in the State, the MoEFCC notification was issued way back in November 2017 that clearly mentions no major construction activity can take place inside the zone.
However, officials from Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited (CNNL), the implementing agency of the Disneyland project, said that they were hopeful of getting the permission as a couple of Central agencies have already visited KRS Dam and inspected Disneyland project site.
The State Government has to develop the land surrounding KRS Reservoir and the Brindavan Gardens as a “Must Visit Tourist Destination in India.”
Apart from constructing a giant 120-metre statue of Goddess Cauvery, the Government plans to construct a Tower Point that is taller than the KRS Dam, Krishnaraja Wadiyar Rotary, Toll Plaza, Entry Plaza, Grand Street, Gandaberunda statue and a host of attractions.
As per the MoEFCC notification, issued as per Environment (Protection) Act, 2,804.6 hectare (6,142 acre) spread across 26 villages, including the KRS and adjoining areas come under the ESZ. The notification said that the declaration of ESZ is to protect the unique fauna and flora of a group of nine islands in the River Cauvery that forms a part of the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. The islets are the main breeding and nesting grounds for more than 250 bird species.
Twenty-six villages in Pandavapura, Srirangapatna and T. Narasipur taluks will fall within the ESZ and will have to adhere to Central rules and guidelines as far as operations of different industrial and commercial activities are concerned. The notification also restricts any recreational activities in the ESZ and the land adjoining these places shall not be converted for use of commercial, residential or industrial development.
Eleven major activities, including setting up of major hydro-electric projects, discharge of effluents, commercial livestock, saw mills and brick kilns among others, are prohibited.
All new and existing commercial mining (minor and major minerals), stone quarrying and crushing units are prohibited with immediate effect.
No new polluting industries will be allowed within the ESZ.
Though it is yet to be ascertained whether the area where the Disneyland project has been proposed comes within the ESZ, officials from CNNL are confident that the project will be implemented.
Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, CNNL Executive Engineer Basavarajegowda said that before announcing the project, the State government had applied for permission from five Central agencies including Central Water and Power Research Station, Pune, Dam Safety Review Panel, New Delhi and National Institute of Soil Mechanics.
“Experts from these institutes have already visited the proposed site for the Disneyland project but are yet to submit a report or grant approval. The government will discuss the MoEFCC notification and decide suitably. The ground work for the project has been completed and a final decision will be taken at the government level,” he added.