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Friday, June 15, 2012

Maharashtra denotifies 1/4th of Koyna sanctuary land

TNN | Jun 15, 2012, 04.55AM IST MUMBAI: The National Wildlife Board has approved the denotification of nearly 100 sq km of the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary. Residents of 14 villages will now be able to cultivate their fields without any fear of action from the forest department. The sanctuary created in the 1970s is spread over 423 sq km. The area that has been denotified is private forest land and has always been cultivated. Pravin Pardesi, principal secretary, revenue and forests, said the land, which is a part of the Deccan plateau, is on one side of the Koyna lake while the larger and actual forest is on the opposite side along the Sahyadri range. The forest is in layers and is a rain forest. It is home to a large number of birds that are endemic to this forest. There are tigers, barking deer, bison, wild dogs and other animals as well. Union minister of environment and forests Jayanti Natarajan, while allowing the denotification, said it was being done on the condition that the state would develop new forest areas. The state government pointed out that recently, it had declared five new protected areas in Vidarbha. "Also, eight villages in the core forest area are being shifted out. The 100 sq km of land thus freed will be used for forest development,'' said Pardesi. Sanctuaries to have successfully done this before are Kanha in Madhya Pradesh and Ranthambore in Rajasthan. Maharashtra has been witnessing a spurt in poaching and man-animal conflict as its tiger population has soared in comparison to the protected areas, which has halved ever since the government denotified 7,000 sq km of he Nanaj Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary last year.

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