In an attempt to save wildlife and for overall conservation, the central government on Thursday declared Karnataka's Nugu Wildlife Sanctuary an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ), prohibiting all industrial and mining activities there.
"No new industries and expansion of existing polluting industries in the Eco-Sensitive Zone shall be permitted," the government said, adding that only non-polluting industries will be allowed within the ESZ.
Part of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Nugu is abode to a large number of elephants, especially the adult tuskers. It falls under Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
The sanctuary also harbours tigers, leopards, wild dogs, striped hyenas, sloth bears, gaur, sambar, chital and four-horned antelopes and two important riverine wildlife species -- smooth-coated otters and marsh crocodiles.
"It is necessary to conserve and protect the area from ecological and environmental point of view and to prohibit industries or class of industry and their operations and processes in the said Eco-Sensitive Zone to protect wildlife and their habitat therein or its environment," a government statement said.
The Union Environment Ministry has thus notified the entire 30 sq.km. of sanctuary area as ESZ.
"All new and existing stone quarrying and crushing units are prohibited with immediate effect except for meeting the domestic needs of bona fide local residents including digging of earth for construction or repair of houses and for manufacture of country tiles or bricks for housing and for other activities," the Ministry said.