Jamshedpur: Chief Minister Raghubar Das here on Wednesday gave consent to a proposal to exclude 13 villages situated close to the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary from the eco-sensitive zone.
The villages that would be kept out of the eco-sensitive zone are Bankucha, Barubera, Bandi, Raherdih, Rakhadih, Murugdih, Burudih, Bagari, Kishundih, Kashidih, Singati, Barahdih and Kuchidih.
As per the proposal, the area surrounding the Sanctuary having a radius up to three kilometer has been defined as eco-sensitive zone, sources said.
In a bid to stem the threats of degradation of ecological system the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment had declared the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary as eco-sensitive zone.
As per the notification, the entire forest zone spread over an area of 522.98 sq kilometers, housing 85 villages inside the forest and 51 villages on its periphery has been kept out of bounds for any type of permanent structures.
As per earlier notification, the area up to five kilometers from the boundary of the protected Dalma Sanctuary constitutes the part of the eco-sensitive zone.
The eco-sensitive zone covers an area of 377.89 sq km that falls in East Singhbhum and another 145.09 sq km that is in Seraikela-kharsawan district.
The notification also stipulated that no concrete construction work can be undertaken within 300 metres of the sanctuary while no industrial, mining, crushing, wood-based industries, saw mills and such commercial activities would be allowed within the five km radius from the boundary of the sanctuary area.
The Centre had to swing into action in keeping with increasing incidences of illegal construction and mining activities undertaken by some elements in the protected forest areas in connivance with local officials.
The government directive also calls upon the State Government to draw up the Dalma zonal master plan within a year, which is to be approved by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
After being reprimanded by the Centre a number of times, the Jharkhand forest department started to act around three years ago.
After months of survey, it identified a 10 km protective belt around Dalma and submitted a plan to the Centre in March 2011. On March 29, 2012, the Union ministry notified a 0-5km radius as eco-sensitive zone around Dalma, which roughly demarcated as a prohibited area for any sort of industrial activity that may threaten the sanctity of the elephant reserve.
Soon after the notification was first issued, villagers from 136 villages along Dalma foothill had resorted to mass demonstration against demarcation of Dalma Eco Sensitive Zone.
They alleged that they would lose livelihoods while facing eviction threats as the department of forest would impose restrictions under the purview of Eco Sensitive Zone guidelines. They also claimed that the government was up to evict the villagers living on the fringes of the sanctuary area.
They expressed suspicion that the government move would rob the livelihood of thousands of local residents. JMM and BJP leaders had come out in support of the villagers following the notification.