Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary Exempted from SC’s ESZ Mandate.

7Dec 2022.


The Supreme Court On December 1, exempted Maharashtra’s Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS) from its June order mandating the creation of a 1 km eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) around all protected areas in India.

About Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Tungareshwar wildlife sanctuary or Tungareshwar National Park is situated on a plateau east of Vasai and Virar in Maharashtra’s Palghar district.
  •  It is located at the northern periphery of Mumbai, spreading across 85 sq km area. It forms a corridor between the Borivali National Park and Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The wildlife sanctuary has three different types of forests – Dry Deciduous, Moist Deciduous and Semi Evergreen.
  • It has rich biodiversity, with diverse populations of flora and fauna.
  •  It is currently facing challenges from irresponsible tourism, deforestation, illegal construction, encroachments for agricultural activities and hunting.

SC’s ESZ mandate

  • On June 3, 2022, the Supreme Court had directed all protected forest, national park and wildlife sanctuaries across India to have a mandatory eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) of a minimum of 1 km starting from their demarcated boundaries.
  • The ESZs are set up around the protected areas as a “shock observer”. They act as a transition zone from the areas with high protection to those having lesser protection.

Why was Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary exempted from SC order mandating the creation of 1 km-ESZ?

  • The Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary was exempted by the Supreme Court mandate of creating 1 km ESZ due to practical difficulties and ground realities.
  • The SC Bench observed that there were instances involving notified forests expand to reach into city areas where urban activities may have been taking place for the past several years.
  • The order for exemption was given while hearing the plea filed by CREDAI-MCHI, a body consisting of members from the real estate sector in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
  • It took into account the earlier order exempting the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary in Mumbai.

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