Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha that the concept of Eco-parks encourages harmony with nature, society, forests and wildlife.
Though, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change does not have any specific programme for developing Eco-parks, it has taken various initiatives through programmes and schemes that encourages eco-restoration of degraded areas namely Nagar Van Yojana, School Nursery Yojana, National Mission for a Green India etc.
What are Eco Parks?
- Eco Parks are large, connected landscapes with high nature conservation and environmental protection ambitions. They are parks which use ecological landscape features to reduce watering and other maintenance while enhancing wildlife and human values.
- The Eco Park model meets and surpasses all social, economic, environmental, architectural and agro-ecological international standards. It is self sufficient in terms of energy, water and food security and is economically sustainable.
Government efforts to Eco-restoration activities
- Eco-restoration activities have been taken up cross-sectorally under various programmes/funding sources of other ministries/ organizations and also through State Plan budgets.
- For preservation and protection of forest & wildlife, various laws including the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, Indian Forest Act, 1927, Wildlife Protection Act 1972, and other central/state laws as applicable to a State/UT, are implemented by the respective State Government /UT Administration.
- Nagar Van Yojana envisages creating a Nagar Van / Nagar Vatika in each City having Municipal Corporation/Municipal council/Municipality/Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) for providing wholesome healthy living environment for the residents and thus contributing to growth of clean, green, healthy and sustainable cities.
- National Mission for a Green India (GIM), under which, in addition to other sub-missions, there is a specific sub-mission for enhancing tree cover in urban and peri-urban areas. Urban forestry is a permissible activity under the provisions of Compensatory Fund Act, 2016 and the Rules made thereunder.
- Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs which focuses on development of basic infrastructure in the selected cities and towns, has the provisions for developing green spaces and parks.
- Ministry of Coal converts suitable mine areas, after exhaustion of reserves, into eco-parks, sites for water sports, underground mine tourism, golf grounds, adventure, bird watching etc. These sites have good potential for recreation, revenue generation and employment for local people.