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Rahul targets Left Front govt over buffer zone around Kerala's Wayanad wildlife sanctuary


Wayanad (Ker), Feb 23: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday attacked Kerala''s CPI(M)-led LDF government over its "stand" on the buffer zone around the boundary of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, saying it is putting at risk the livelihood of the people of his constituency.


"The State Govt''s stand on buffer zone is putting at risk the livelihoods of the people around Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.Govt action is pushing these hardworking people to a bleak future of uncertainty & suffering.

Corrective action is immediately needed," the Wayanad MP, who concluded his two-day constituency visit on Tuesday, said in a tweet.

Hitting back at the Wayanad MP, State Forest Minister K Raju said the decision on buffer zone is determined by the Union Environment and Forest Ministry. The minister said Gandhi, who is based in New Delhi, should give necessary suggestions to the Forest Ministry to exclude densely populated areas around the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary while notifying Ecological Sensitive Zone around its boundary.

"It is the central government which takes decisions on the matter.We have written to the ministry seeking to exclude populated areas while notifying bufferzone," Raju told PTI when his attention was drawn to Gandhi''s tweet.

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He said the state government''s earlier suggestion was to create a 0 to 1 km buffer zone around the boundary but an amended suggestion was sent later suggesting that densely populated areas should be excluded.

On February 6, Gandhi had sent a letter to Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar urging him to address the concerns raised by the people of his constituency on the issue.

In its draft notification issued on January 28, the Ministry had proposed to notify an area to an extent varying from 0 to 3.4 km around the boundary of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary as the Eco-sensitive Zone.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Ramesh Chennithala have sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allay the apprehension of the people in Wayanad over the draft notification.

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