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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.

Tiger population rises in State

WEDNESDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2012 00:10 SHRAWAN MAWAI | SEHORE HITS: 76 Good news for tiger lovers pour in from the Budhni forests of the Sehore district where pug marks of a tiger were registered by the Forest department. With this the number of tigers in the district have rose to three, as a tiger has already made Kathotia forests of the district its home since long and information about movement of another tiger is noted in the Dugaria forests of the range. According to the information, two days back pug marks of animal were seen near the Talpura pond in the Budhni forest range, the forest officials on seeing the pug marks speculated that they could be of tiger, mould of these pug marks was taken and after deep study of the same the department came to an conclusion that the pug marks are of a tiger. Ranger, Budhni forest range BP Singh while talking to The Pioneer said, “We got the information about the tiger movement in the area, during the rainy season this tiger was seen in the forests behind the tractor training centre, now it has moved in the area of Talpura area of the forest.” Singh further said that now the movement of this tiger is in and around Talpura, teams have been constituted to monitor its movement and they are keeping a watch on the movement of the tiger. Now the number of tigers have rose to two in the Budhni forest range, as the reports of movement of a tiger in the Dugaria forests are also pouring in since last few months, he added. He said the movement of the tiger seen in the Dugaria forests is limited to that area only. Reports of tiger sighting have poured in on earlier occasions also from the Budhni forest range, but the Forest department never before confirmed the news. Now, when the Forest department has confirmed the presence of tiger in the range, wildlife activists have expressed concern over the security of striped feline as the Sehore Forest administration has over the past few months earned notoriety for being hand in gloves with the poachers, especially after the death of two tigers in a period of less than couple of months. Wildlife activist Ajay Dube said, “It is welcome news that the tiger family is increasing in the State, but we are concerned over the security of these new find felines as they have been located in the Sehore forest range where two tigers were killed by the poachers this year.” Dube further said, “We are concerned that the reports of tiger movement were pouring in since long but the Forest department has neither bothered to confirm them earlier nor has taken steps till now for their security.” Notably, Kathotia forest of the Sehore district is infamous for tiger poaching and due to that on earlier occasions tigers were shifted from this forest. The Forest department would conduct the tiger census in December; it would be after many years that the official census of the striped feline would be held in the district. It was in the year 2004 when the last official census was held in the district.