The Centre on Monday declared the National Chambal Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, home to gangetic dolphins and 75 per cent population of critically endangered species gharial, as eco-sensitive zone (ESZ).
"The central government hereby notifies an area to an extent of zero to two kilometres around the boundary of National Chambal Sanctuary in the state of Madhya Pradesh as the National Chambal Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone," said a notification issued by the ministry of environment.
The ministry has also directed the Madhya Pradesh government to prepare a Zonal Master Plan, which shall provide for restoration of denuded areas, conservation of existing water bodies, management of catchment areas, watershed management, groundwater management, soil and moisture conservation, needs of local community and such other aspects of the ecology and environment that need attention.
Spread over 435 square kilometres, the National Chambal Sanctuary lies across Sheopur, Morena and Bhind districts of Madhya Pradesh with a length of more than 400 kilometers.
It is home to naturally living population of 75 per cent of gharial. The sanctuary also harbours national aquatic animal the fresh water gangetic dolphins, nine species of fresh water turtles and more the 180 species of migratory birds.
In its notification, the government prohibited any new construction of hotels and resorts within one kilometre from the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary or up to the extent of the ESZ, whichever is nearer.
"Provided that beyond the distance of one kilometre from the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary till the extent of the Eco-Sensitive Zone, the establishment of new hotels and resorts shall be allowed only in pre-defined and designated areas for ecotourism facilities as per Tourism Master Plan," the ministry said.
It said that forests, horticulture areas, agricultural areas, parks and open spaces earmarked for recreational purposes in the Eco-sensitive Zone shall not be used or converted into areas for commercial or residential or industrial activities.
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