KV Correspondent

Surrounding area at Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary demarcated as eco- sensitive zone

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Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change issues notification

Nasir Azam

Srinagar: The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEF&CC) has notified an area around one kilometre of Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary as eco-sensitive zone.
Nestled between majestic Pir Panchal forests, the peripheries of the sanctuary have been declared as eco-sensitive zone. “……..In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) and clauses (v) and (xiv) of sub-section (2) and sub-section (3) of Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 (29 of 1986) (hereafter in this notification referred to as the Environment Act) read with sub-rule (3) of rule 5 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, the Central Government hereby notifies an area to an extent varying from 0 (zero) to 1.0 kilometre around the boundary of Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary, in Shopian district in Jammu and Kashmir as the Eco-sensitive Zone ,” reads the notification issued by Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEF& CC).
The sanctuary is home to some of the rare, endangered and threatened species like Markhor (near threatened), Kashmir musk deer (endangered), common leopard (vulnerable), Himalayan griffon vulture (near threatened), bearded vulture (near threatened), and Kashmir flycatcher (vulnerable).
It is also home for many migratory and residents birds including species of vultures, raptors and passerines. Spread over 341.25 square kilometers, the sanctuary got its name from the Village Hirpora, a small hamlet that lies on the northeastern outskirts of the protected area and forms its gateway.
The sanctuary came into existence on March 19, 1987 through government notification (FST/WL/San/Hirpora/87 (SRO-153)
While framing the organizational set up of the Department of Wildlife Protection, the Government of Jammu & Kashmir vide its order No 128-F.S.T of 1991 dated May 13, 1991, again notified the establishment of Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary. Later, the government through a notification issued under SRO 424, and endorsed under No. FST/WL/71/2007, dated 18th of December 2007, extended the area of the sanctuary to 341.25 square kilometers.
According to the notification, the union territory shall, for the purposes of the eco-sensitive zone, prepare a Zonal Master Plan within period of two years from the date of publication of this notification in the Official Gazette, in consultation with local people.
The notification prohibits or regulates different activities within the eco-sensitive zone. It also seeks setting up a high-level committee headed by deputy commissioner Shopian for monitoring eco-sensitive zone.
Notably, the Wildlife Trust of India is working on Markhor Conversation project in the sanctuary. The project covers both social and ecological aspect of Markhor Conservation. (KNO)

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