Mysuru: The famed Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Srirangapatna, one of the oldest bird sanctuaries in India and an ideal breeding ground for migratory birds including endangered species, has been declared as Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ).
The Union Government has issued a notification in this regard and has earmarked a total geographical area of 28.04 square kilometres for the ESZ. This prohibits industries and a class of industrial processes and operations that are toxic and hazardous from functioning in the Zone’s proximity.
The notification, issued on Nov. 9, 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 bird sanctuary. The islets are the main breeding and nesting grounds for hundreds of bird species.
Twenty-six villages in Pandavapura, Srirangapatna and T. Narasipura 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.
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 henceforth.
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.
Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, Deputy Conservator of Forest, Mysuru (Wildlife) Division, V. Yedukondalu said, “With the ESZ tag, many commercial activities are prohibited, regulated or promoted and a sustained and a stage-by-stage approach is taken for the sanctuary’s protection.”
Adjoining areas of the bird sanctuary will get protection so that feeding and nesting grounds of the birds are not affected. “ESZ is necessary for control of uncontrollable development, long term sustainable development and preservation of biodiversity in this protected area,” he said. The sanctuary supports 221 bird species including resident and migratory birds such as Cormorants, Darters, Egrets, White Ibis, Spoonbills, and Herons, Open Billed and Painted Storks, Indian River Tern, Great Stone Plover and a host of other birds. It is also home to Bonnet Macaques, Otters, Palm Civet, Turtles, Marsh Crocodiles and numerous fish species.