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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Experts to study mining, industry impact on Tadoba

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | Oct 24, 2012, 02.25AM IST NAGPUR: The principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Maharashtra, is planning to constitute a committee of experts to study adverse impact of mining and industries on biodiversity and tigers in and around Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve ( TATR). According to sources, the move follows as compliance of the assurance to the calling attention motion moved by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) MLA from Magathane in Mumbai Pravin Darekar in the Assembly. "I had raised the issue in the House. I'm busy with a function and hence will give you the details tomorrow," Darekar told TOI. To discuss modalities and methodology for the study on adverse impact, PCCF (wildlife) SWH Naqvi has called a meeting on October 30 at Van Bhawan. The state government has already roped in Yashwantrao Academy of Development Administration (Yashda), Pune, to study tiger corridors in Vidarbha. Naqvi was unavailable for comments as he was busy with a meeting in Mumbai. The committee is likely to comprise experts from National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), World Wide Fund for Nature ( WWF), Wildlife Institute of India ( WII), Dehradun, and Centre for Wildlife Studies headed by noted expert K Ullas Karanth from Karnataka. In May, MNS chief Raj Thackeray had visited Gondmohadi near Tadoba, where two tigers were entangled in metal traps. Apart from the MNS raising the issue, there are charges from all quarters that excessive mining and industrial activities over the years had destroyed tiger habitat around Tadoba. The charges include breaking of wildlife corridors, increase in man-animal conflict and extension of existing mines that would adversely affect already fragmented corridors. There are many coal and iron ore mines in the Tadoba landscape awaiting environment clearance. If granted, Tadoba would be isolated further increasing man-animal conflict as tigers would be unable to migrate. A study on 'How coal mining is trashing tigerland' published by leading NGO Greenpeace on August 3 has revealed that coalfields around Tadoba overlap with endangered species habitat. The report highlights massive costs India is facing from the huge expansion in coal mining. The mines will impact eight tiger reserves and their corridors including Tadoba-Andhari, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Sanjay-Dubri, Kawal, Satkosia, Simlipal and Palamau. Talking to TOI, president of tiger conservation NGO Eco-Pro Bandu Dhotre welcomed the move saying Chandrapur was the most polluted city in India. Wastewater from existing mines is not only contaminating rivers, lakes and streams in the district but is also disturbing groundwater balance. Any further activity will be detrimental not only to forest and wildlife but also residents. Dhotre said around 25 tonnes of overburden is generated for every tonne of coal produced altering the landscape. "Coalmines emit particulate matter and gases, including methane, sulphurdioxide and oxides of nitrogen. These mines also cause noise pollution by blasting, movement of heavy earthmoving machinery, drilling and coal-handling equipment," he added.

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