National Chambal sanctuary, home of gharials and Gangetic dolphins, declared eco-sensitive zone

Yash Shukla

National Chambal sanctuary has been declared as an eco-sensitive zone by the central government. The decision to declare the area as an eco-sensitive zone will prohibit the construction of hotels or resorts within an area of zero to two kilometres from the sanctuary, according to a report by PTI.

The government has notified area to an extent of zero to two kilometre around the Chambal sanctuary as the national chambal sanctuary eco-sensitive zone, according to a notification issued by the government.

The sanctuary based in the Chambal region is a host of a lot of critically endangered species. Gangetic dolphins, gharial and freshwater turtles are among the major species found in the region. More than 75 per cent of the critically endangered Gharial population is based in the sanctuary.

The central government has also asked the Madhya Pradesh government to work on a Zonal master plan for the area. The state government has been tasked with restoring the water bodies in the region, soil conservation and watershed management under the Zonal master plan.

The National Chambal Sanctuary is spread in three districts of Madhya Pradesh i.e, Sheopur, Morena and Bhind district- which constitute the Chambal region in the state. The sanctuary is spread over an area of 435 sq km across the three districts.

With the declaration of the eco-sensitive zone, the commercial establishments will be forbidden to construct hotels or resorts in the region which will help maintain distance between the human settlement and the sanctuary. The development of human settlement in close vicinity of the forests and sanctuaries has proved detrimental to the growth of the wildlife. It has also led to the wildlife entering the human settlement leading to panic among the people.

The new establishments will only be allowed in the pre-defined area for eco-tourism as per the Tourism Master Plan beyond the distance of one kilometre from the wildlife sanctuary till the extent of the eco-sensitive zone, the government notification said.