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Internet Bulletin : Issue Number 1  
March 20, 2000
Wildlife of Maharashtra
Index to this issue 

Status Report : List of Protected Areas in Maharashtra State 

News and Net Reports 

1.        HC extends deadline for park encroachers to March 21 
2.        The future lies at sea 
3.        BNHS spots rare hornbills at Sanjay Gandhi National Park 
4.        Resettlement of Melghat evacuees discussed 
5.        Reclamation of land led to degradation of mangrove wetlands 
6.        Hey Mr! There's a leopard at your door 
7.        Gutkha demand fast chews up Thane's forests 
8.        National Study of Mining Threats to Critical Wildlife and Community Habitats  
9.        Nisarg Vihar in Sanjay Gandhi NP opposed 
10.      Developmental threats to Melghat 
11.      Save Western Ghats, urge green experts 


List of Protected Areas in Maharashtra State 

National Park /Wildlife Sanctuary     /IUCN Management Category     /Lat-Long    /Area in hectares   /Year Proposed or Established

National Park
     Gugamal                                   II   2652'N/ 9058'E      36,180  1987
     Navegaon                                  II   2110'N/ 7941'E      13,388  1975
     Pench                                       II   2135'N/ 7914'E      25,726  1975
     Sanjay Gandhi                           II   1856'N/ 7551'E       8,696  1983
     Tadoba                                      II   2020'N/ 7920'E      11,655  1955

Wildlife Sanctuary
     Andhari                                     IV         ?/?                             50,927  1986
     Aner Dam                                 IV         ?/?                                8,294  1986
     Bhimashankar                           IV         ?/?                              13,078  1985
     Bor                                           IV         ?/?                                6,110  1970
     Chandoli                                   IV         ?/?                              30,897  1985
     Chaprala                                   IV         ?/?                             13,478  1986
     Gautala Autramghat                   IV         ?/?                             26,061  1986
     Great Indian Bustard                  IV         ?/?                           849,644  1979
     Jaikwadi                                    IV         ?/?                            34,105  1986
     Kalsubai Harishchandra              IV         ?/?                            36,171  1986
     Katepurna                                 IV         ?/?                              7,369  1988
     Koyana                                     IV         ?/?                           42,355  1985
     Malvan                                      IV         ?/?                             2,912  1987
     Melghat                                    IV         ?/?                          159,723  1985
     Nagzira                                     IV   2110'N/ 1712'E         15,281  1970
     Nandur Madmeshwar                 IV         ?/?                           10,012  1986
     Painganga                                IV         ?/?                           32,462  1986
     Phansad                                   IV         ?/?                            6,979  1986
     Radhangiri                                IV   1700'N/ 7320'E          37,188  1958
     Sagareshwar                            IV         ?/?                             1,087  1985
     Tansa                                      IV   1914'N/ 7302'E         30,481  1970
     Yawal                                      IV   2115'N/ 7605'E         17,752  1969


HC extends deadline for park encroachers to March 21 

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE The Indian Express Friday, March 3, 2000

MARCH 2: The state government has been given time till March 21 to either rehabilitate the 33,000 illegal encroachers in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, failing which they will have to be evicted. Issuing a stern warning, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice N J Pandya and Justice Ranjana Desai of the Bombay High Court also directed the government to undertake an extensive programme to inform the slum-dwellers that they could not depend on the ``false hopes'' extended by local politicians and that they might as well pay up if they wanted to be relocated. The directions came during the continued hearing on a petition filed by the Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG).

The court also directed the state government to provide a detailed programme for rehabilitation on March 13, when the matter will be heared next. It added that the propaganda work among the slumdwellers will begin from March 14 for a week and a final date will be given to them to pay up or face the circumstances. Senior counsel for the state government, Rafiq Dada, told the court in his capacity as amicus curie, ``The Grievance Committee set up by the high court earlier to oversee the implementation of the rehabilitation programme has in its report submitted that only 426 units have paid for the rehabilitation. One is not aware of what are the reasons why the others are not willing to pay the money.''

To this, senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for the BEAG, showed pamphlets circulated in the park area by the local politicians which proclaimed that the slum-dwellers need not have to shift out of the area. ``In any case, how can the government allow for the rehabilitation of the slum-dwellers in the periphery of the park when even the 22-km-long boundary wall has not been constructed yet,'' he asked. He pointed out that the state government has failed in its duty as a trustee of all natural resources of the state and has allowed the ``human problem to be converted to a political problem''.

However, Advocate General Goolam Vahanvati assured the court that while it was true that only 1.2 km of the wall has been built, provisions are being made for the rest of the funds as well as for building watch towers, etc. He told the court that the state government wants to evict the remaining 8,000 illegal units only after the ongoing slum demolition drive on along the railway tracks is complete.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. INDEX

The future lies at sea 
Thursday, February 10, 2000     The Indian Express
For a country that has a 7,000 kilometre coastline, the oceans hold the key to India's ecological future. Yet after studiously ignoring the environmental problems of this sector, all that the government has been able to do is to come up with is a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification under the Environment Protection Act issued in 1991 which purports to guard the coastline from harmful activity.

But successive governments have been trying to get around the Act after pressure from various lobbies. Now the government has come up with another draft of the Ocean Regulation Zone (ORZ), but this too was stalled because of a continuing inter-ministerial tug-of-war.

This indifference has had a deadly fallout. Says Dr Rashmi Mayur, advisor to the United Nations on environmental issues, ``In the Thane bay area during a study I conducted in 1991 I found that children had developed neurological disabilities. Further investigation revealed that this was caused by mercury peroxide, an effluent from a nearby paintfactory. The mercury peroxide settled in the muscles of these children and rendered them permanently disabled.''

Mayur's is an almost apocalyptic vision. According to him, the oceans that wash the shores of peninsular India are turning into a large sewer, a floating garbage dump of land-based pollutants where a reported 6.5 million tonnes of garbage is dumped annually. While India is banking on the ineffective CRZ that has become toothless, the proposed ORZ is yet to be gazetted. The CRZ notification under the MoEF maintains that the coast must be kept clear of all activities at least up to 500 m from the high tide line. However, exceptions to the notification, have been the rule.

Observes Shyam Chainani, the Mumbai-based environmentalist, ``With lobbying the area has been reduced from 500 metres to a mere 200 metres.'' Chainani, a honorary secretary of the Bombay Environmental Action Group, has been petitioning successive governments to take some pro-active action on the issue. He is more than willingto use every piece of legislation to help him in his crusade. Says he,``A soldier uses whatever weapon he has. If we have the CRZ in whatever form, let us use it.''

P.C. Sinha, secretary, Foundation for Conflict Resolution, New Delhi, agrees,``The more layers of protection in whatever form, the better.'' He has taken a look at the newly-proposed ORZ but is disappointed with it. ``An overall impression which an analyst derives after going through the ORZ draft document is that it is the CRZ extended into the ocean space without taking into consideration its functional capability and the implementation strategy.''

He believes that once the ORZ comes into effect it will be subject to the same controversies that has dogged the CRZ since 1991. Says Sinha,``The CRZ was thought to be anti-development. It proved to be unpopular and in many coastal areas like that of Kerala, the builder's lobby is totally against it.''

And that is only half the story. The ORZ was originally proposed by the Department of OceanDevelopment (DoD) in 1996. Since then the ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) is sitting on it.``They believe that they do not have the expertise. But giving DoD the go ahead would mean that the MoEF would lose control,'' says Sinha. Unlike the CRZ where the nodal agency is the MoEF, the DoD governs the ORZ. And therein lies the rub. As Sinha puts it,``The DoD feels that it should be made solely responsible for the environment of the ocean. If asked to enforce the ORZ, the MoEF will have an enforcement problem. It's been three years since the ORZ was drafted. It is already too late as a major portion of the mangrove ecosystem is lost,'' says Sinha. He is afraid that after the objections and other bureaucratic rigmaroles this piece of legislation could die a slow death.

Sinha has an alternate solution strengthen the existing Maritime Zones Act (MZA) and give it more teeth. ``One needs a single enforcement agency, preferably the MoEF to act on the protection of an integrated ecosystem. The MoEF shouldhave an ocean cell whose responsibility it will be to exclusively look into environmental matters related to the oceans. The MZA of 1976 has no green element in it and is at present ineffective. It needs to be strengthened. With this there would be no need for an ORZ. In the end we need an integrated coastal and marine area management plan,'' says Sinha.

In the meantime 30 to 40 per cent of our coastline is already a dead zone, says Mayur. ``Every year a quarter million plastic bags are dumped into the sea. Thirty percent of our rich mangrove forests are already lost to us.''Pointing to the tragedy that unfolds on the ship breaking yards of Bhavnagar in Gujarat, Mayur points out that while a whole generation is being disabled and deformed, a recent Supreme Court judgement has allowed ship breaking activities to continue. ``The results of toxins released during the process can already be seen among workers and their children who have developed deformities.''

Yet, tragically, the ocean as an ecologicalsubject does not exist in national discourse, with even the NGO community remaining largely indifferent to it. ``There has already been an ingress of saline water into coastal Gujarat,'' says Mayur. He wants steps to be taken so that the government does not play with CRZ controls. Even economically the results of this neglect are evident. From an estimated 6 million tonnes of fish in 1991, today India's produce has declined to only about 2 million tonnes. Experts feel that by the year 2010 it will be down to half a million tonnes.

Protect our oceans they are crucial to our future. They absorb nearly 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, which ensures that the energy balance of the world is maintained. After all, say ecological experts, the climate is controlled by the oceans.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. INDEX

BNHS spots rare hornbills at Sanjay Gandhi National Park 
Thursday, February 10, 2000     The Indian Express

MUMBAI: The Bombay Natural History Society's (BNHS) ornithologists have spotted rare hornbills at the Vihar catchment forest of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Sunjoy Monga and his colleagues came across three large black and white birds on February six and one of them was identified as Malabar pied hornbill, a species never seen before even in north of Ratnagiri in Konkan region, 300 km south of Mumbai, reports PTI.

They also identified great pied hornbill on February eight on a ridge flanking the Vihar catchment forest. "This species, which is the symbol of BNHS, is one of the country's most threatened birds", Monga told PTI today. Though there have been indefinite reports of the great pied hornbill in valleys around Khandala, there has been no confirmed sighting over the past quarter of a century, Monga said.

The nearest spot to Mumbai from where a specimen of this species was collected was from near Mahad, below Mahabaleshwar, on October 27, 1944. "This specimen lies in the invaluable bird collection of the BNHS".

"We in BNHS feel that the sudden appearance of these two critically important bird species, especially the great pied hornbill, in Mumbai region is a matter of tremendous significance", he said.


Resettlement of Melghat evacuees discussed 
Saturday, November 6, 1999     The Indian Express

NAGPUR, NOV 5: A joint meeting of Government officials, NGOs and villagers was organised by Melghat NGO Coordination Committee recently at Bori village in Chikhaldara block to discuss the resettlement issue of people displaced from 22 villages of Melghat sanctuary in Amravati district by the Government. Besides Praveen Pardeshi, Joint Secretary, Forests, who was the chief guest at the programme, Sumit Malik, Divisional Commissioner, Amravati, O P Gupta, Collector, Amravati, V T Patki, Director of Project Tiger, Melghat, and Sanjay Agrawal, SDO Dharni, were also present as guests of honour.

Villagers from Bori village, Kelpani, Dhargad, Gullarghat, Chopan, Malur, Koha, Semadoh, Mangia, Pili, Rora, Raipur, Madisadap, Vairat, Churni, Pastalai, Makhla and Memna were present at the meeting, according to a press note issued by Purnima Upadhyay, member of the coordination committee. Some major points of agreement that were chalked out between the NGOs and the Government was that none of the 22 villages will be forcibly displaced. A notice to this effect will be sent by the Amravati District Collector to dispel fear of displacement amongst the villagers.

The resettlement and rehabilitation package for Bori village will be given in writing to the village. The village gramshala will discuss the plan and give their final decision regarding rehabilitation. A time-bound programme will then be agreed upon. In the first phase, only Bori village will be considered for rehabilitation, while Koha and Kund villages will be considered only if the rehabilitation on Bori proves to be successful and if the people in these two villages are convinced about the rehabilitation package.

It was decided that a committee will be set up to discuss and monitor the rehabilitation process in Bori. The committee will comprise of Government officials, NGOs and village representatives. If any village decides against displacement then that decision will be respected and plans will be made for meeting their requirements within the existing provisions and keeping in mind the bio-diversity and wildlife values of the area. Discussions were also held on the issues of grazing and water for the cattle in the region. It was felt that there is a need to consider alternative approaches of sustenance of ecology and tribals in the villages that do not give their consent for rehabilitation.

Representatives from Nature Conservation Society, Amravati, Khoj organisation, YUVA, Apeksha Homoeo Society, Kalpavrish, Pune, CRY, Mumbai, WWF, Pune, also attended the meet.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. INDEX

Reclamation of land led to degradation of mangrove wetlands 
Friday, October 22, 1999     The Indian Express
MUMBAI: The reclamation of land in the down stream region of Mahim creek for development of slums and establishment of the Bandra-Kurla complex in the upstream region has slowly resulted in the degradation of mangrove wetlands in the area, reports PTI.

According to a research conducted by scientists of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), some land near the mouth of the Mahim creek resulting in reduction in the width of the mouth of the creek to about 100 metres, thereby affecting the flow of incoming tides in the upstream region of Mahim creek.

The land was reclaimed for construction of a bund during commissioning of the ambitious Bombay sewage disposal project by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai in 1995-96. The construction in this region continued and in the last three years, the mouth of the creek had further reduced to merely 30-40 metres, leaving very little space for the tidal water to enter the creek, according to BNHS sources.

The lack of flushing of the tidal water could pose as a serious threat to the mangroves, even leading to their extincton, the sources said adding that some of the upstream regions of Mahim creek, currently under the mangrove cover, were drying up due to paucity of flushing by tidal waters. This phenomena could be attributed to the reduction of width of the Mahim creek, which has seriously affected the spread of high tide water in the upstream region of Mahim creek, the sources said.


Hey Mr! There's a leopard at your door 
Tuesday, August 24, 1999     EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE
MUMBAI, AUG 23: Perhaps it was the delicious dinner that did the trick. Lured by the scent of fresh mutton, a three-year-old leopard was trapped by the Forest Department at the Godrej Eden Woods in Thane district in the wee hours today. Tempted by a bleating lamb on this occasion, the cat was caught near Oak building in the residential complex, before being carted away and released in the Nagla forest near Vasai by a watch-team that had lain in wait since the last four days.

The leopard, which had earlier refused a stray mongrel used as bait 25 days ago, was first spotted in the complex comprising 15 buildings several months ago. Refusing to obey the selfish boundaries of the encroaching concrete jungle, the cat, like many others from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, had become increasingly bolder over the last month. On occasion, it was spotted curling up at the entrance of the buildings and padding along the pathways.

A fortnight ago, however, the Forest Office posted a watch-team in the complex to observe the feline's movements. When they discovered that the cat was inclined to visit Oak building more than the others, they kept a lamb there as bait. ``The leopard was frequently seen by residents and an atmosphere of fear had developed. Now that we have caught and released him near Vasai, the residents can rest easy,'' says Range Forest Officer, Sameer Deshpande.

As residents awoke to news of the leopard's entrapment at 3 am today, they heaved a palpable sigh of relief. ``The cat had us really scared. Only two days ago, someone had spied him at 6 am. When we woke up today, there was a huge commotion outside and we realised he had been finally captured,'' says a resident, Madhuri Iyer.

However, residents fear the cat-and-mouse game will continue, saying there is more than one leopard lurking around the complex. According to Ravinder Malhotra of Bayhouse building: ``We have heard that there are at least four leopards frequenting our compound under the cover of darkness. We are so scared of being attacked and losing our children that we rarely step out at night.''  But Deshpande assures: ``We have deployed a three-member team in the complex. If we spot any more wild cats, we shall lay more traps to catch them.''

Incidents of the big cats straying out of the Borivli National Park are startlingly frequent. At times, children and domestic animals from the adjacent slum and tribal pockets have also been dragged away by the leopards and panthers inhabiting the park, which borders the Yeoor Hills in Thane in the north. The abandoned industrial units and dense vegetation around Eden Woods make it an ideal haunt for the animals.

Deputy Conservator of Forests, A R Bharti, told Express Newsline : ``There are more than 40 leopards in the park, of which about seven are in the Yeoor Hills. They have been roaming the park's outskirts area for many years in search of prey, where residential complexes have been constructed recently. It is more a case of man encroaching into the animal's habitat than vice-versa.''

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. INDEX

Gutkha demand fast chews up Thane's forests         S Hussain Zaidi  
Wednesday, August 18, 1999
MUMBAI, AUG 17: The insatiable demand from Delhi-based gutkha manufacturers has drastically shrunk the cover of Khair and other trees in Thane district, with no let-up in the timber-mafia's activities here. Attention turned to the district several years ago since Khair trees, a prime ingredient in gutkha and catechu (kattha), have been logged to virtual extinction in the northern states.
The inordinate demand for the timber has also pushed the cost of catechu from Rs 800 to Rs 1,200 per kg. Illegal logging in various talukas in the district is so widespread that over 150 trucks loaded with Khairwood have been intercepted over the last two years, says Yeoor Range Forest Officer of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Sameer Deshpande. The cost: several crore rupees.

``These organised gangs have managed to successfully dodge the police. They dont even hesitate to attack and kill policemen and others who come in their way,'' Deshpande says. In June, Ahmed Shaikh, a businessman had alerted forestofficials of a truck being loaded with Khair trees at Vartak Nagar. The truck was raided and the wood seized. Shortly thereafter, Shaikh was shot dead at Karwalo Nagar Masjid, and his body mutilated to serve as a lesson to other informants.

In another incident last year, a watchmen with the Thane division forest, S Desal's head was severed at Mapoli village when he tried to stop a fleeing Khair-cutter, says Forest Range Officer, Thane division, Vishwas Walke. There are also several instances when these gangs have assaulted forest officers and guards during raids. These gangs, active mainly in Dahanu, Vasai, Palghar, Wada, Jawhar and Bhiwandi, owe allegiance to Haroon and Nizam, Akbar Macchiwala, Shahabuddin Pashamiyan, Balaji Telang and Rizwan Thanewal. The Thane rural police have now teamed up with the forest authorities to spread their dragnet. According to Thane Superintendent of Police (Rural), the Saagar Suraksha Sanghatana, which has 15 checkposts at strategic locations, will also keep an eyeout for timber smugglers.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. INDEX

National Study of Mining Threats to Critical Wildlife and Community Habitats 

A significant amount of India's Protected Areas and other wildlife habitats, as also areas which forest-dependent communities survive in, face a threat from mining (either existing or proposed). Besides actual destruction of these areas is the issue of destruction of wildlife corridors and lesser explored issues such as the toxic effect of mining on wildlife and local populations. At this juncture the need is felt for initially mapping the mining threats to PA's, other wildlife and community habitats on a national scale. We propose to do a study to achieve this objective, which can act as a catalyst for further action.
1) To get a national picture of mining threats to PA's and other wildlife/community habitats.
2) To initiate a campaign based on the above, in collaboration with other local and national NGOs and individuals.
3) To lobby for changes in the Mining Policy eg. inclusion of a no mining zone in and around PA's and sensitive community areas in the policy itself.
4) To explore the use of other policies and laws, such as the Environment Protection Act, the Wild Life (Protection) Act, and the Forest Conservation Act, in tackling the threat of mining.
5) To give support to local groups who are working on this issue.

In the first two months, a table of areas affected by mining, with appropriate maps indicating overlaps between critical wildlife and community areas and ongoing/proposed mining, will be established from secondary information and from networking efforts with groups around the country. This will be followed over the next 3-4 months by field visits to a representative sample of areas to get first hand information of the situation, where information will be recorded (including through photographs). In the next two months, the picture of mining threats will be compiled and brought out as a detailed report. Both during the field visit phase and in the final phase, campaigning and lobbying work will be carried out as appropriate.

Finally, a workshop will be held with key organizations and individuals, to decide the future course of action. This will be an intense, action-oriented workshop, where specific actions such as a national campaign, litigation, etc. will be decided upon and initiated.

Personnel and Collaboration
The principal work on this project will be undertaken by Kalpavriksh members Neeraj Vagholikar and Pankaj Sekhsaria, with guidance from Ashish Kothari and Neema Pathak. Constant collaboration will be carried out with Sanctuary Asia office, in particular Ashish Fernandes and Bittu Sahgal, and with other relevant organizations in the country.

1. A map of India, with as complete a picture of mining in sensitive ecological and cultural habitats, as possible.
2. A detailed report or series of reports, on the status of mining threats to PA's and other critical habitats in India.
3. A visual record, from field visits, of some of the areas that are affected.
4. Sample campaign notes and letters which can be used by NGOs and individuals to build pressure on this issue.

What has already been done?
We have put together a grid showing the Protected Areas in various states affected by mining. The data sourced till now already shows more than 40 PA's affected by mining in India.

Two field investigations covering the Protected Areas of Goa and Son-gharial Sanctuary have already been conducted. The next investigation will be conducted at the Radhanagari Sanctuary in September 1999. If budgets allow, the field investigation component of the study will be extended to more than the earlier thought of 3-4 months to cover a wider range of Protected Areas.

Role of ASCI:
ASCI is going to be funding some of the field investigations for this mining study.
About Kalpavriksh:
 Kalpavriksh is an environmental action group, which has been active since 1979 on various fronts: environmental education and awareness, legal action, campaigns, action research, and support to grassroots groups and communities. Amongst other subjects, wildlife conservation has been a major focus. It is one of the organizers of a series of national consultations (called "Building Bridges"), which aim to create a common platform for people and organizations which are working on conservation and human rights issues. It also produces a bi-monthly newsletter Protected Area Update (formerly JPAM Update), which provides regular news on conservation related issues. One of its current focal activities is documentation of community-based conservation, and support to communities that are attempting to conserve natural habitats and wildlife species.


Nisarg Vihar in Sanjay Gandhi NP opposed 
PA Update 21

The World Wide Fund for Nature India (WWF-I) has filed a petition in the Mumbai High court against the construction of 'Nisarg Vihar', a nature centre proposed on a 50 acre area within the Mulund side buffer zone of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Earlier a new entry had been opened to the park at Mulund to reduce the pressure of visitors at the main entry in Borivili. (see Update 20) According to the petition, the creation of such an area was violative of the Wildlife (Protection) Act - 1972 and the Forest (Conservation) Act ^Ö 1980. The petition also noted that the project was more like an amusement park, not for the purpose of forest conservation, and that the project is aimed more at securing political mileage in the forthcoming elections.

Source: 'Plea filed against building nature centre in national park', The Times of India, 22/06/99 Contact: Divisional Forest Officer, Sanjay Gandhi Rashtriya Udyan, Borivili (E), Mumbai - 400066, Maharashtra.

WWF- I, Maharashtra State Office, 204, National Insurance Building, 2nd Floor, Dadabhoy Naoroji Road, Fort, Mumbai - 400001, Maharashtra. Tel: 022-2048105.


Developmental threats to Melghat 

PA Update 21

The River Valley Expert Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests made a visit to the site of the Chikhaldhara pumped storage project in March, earlier this year. A meeting which was held to discuss the impact of the proposed project, was attended by forest officials, researchers and officials of the irrigation department.

Bittu Sahgal, a member of the committee has circulated a detailed note explaining the reasons why this particular project should not be granted permission. In another development, various NGOs in the region have also voiced their opposition to the Upper Tapi Irrigation project which is expected to affect Melghat adversely. Environmentalists have expressed the apprehension that the motive behind denotifying part of the sanctuary in the Project Tiger area may have been to make the necessary land available for the project.

The state forest department has opened a new wildlife circle at Amravati. This will be under the administrative control of the Field Director of Melghat Tiger Reserve. There will be two wildlife divisions for Melghat, with headquarters at Paratwada, while a separate wildlife division for the sanctuaries of Ambabarwa, Wan, and is being established at Akot in Akola district. In another development the Tiger Conservation Action Force (TCAF) of the Amravati based Nature Conservation Society (NCS) arrested three wildlife traders in Akola on the 20th of May. The operation was aided by the Delhi based Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). Subsequently the Forest Department too succeeded in arresting three more people and confiscating some wild animal skins from them.

Source: Bittu Sahgal on email dated 17/04/99.
'Greens object to big projects in Melghat', Indian Express, 10/05/99.
Jawahar Dubey on email dated 11/05/99.
'Reserve status for tiger habitat', Business Standard, 04/05/99.
Sunil S Deshmukh on email dated 28/05/99
Contact: Bittu Sahgal, Sanctuary Asia, 602, Maker Chamber V, Nariman Point, Mumbai - 400021, Maharashtra.
l: 022 - 2830061 /81 Fax: 2874380 Email:
Kishore Rithe, Nature Conservation Society, Pratishtha, Bharat Nagar, Akoli Road, Near Sai Nagar, Amravati, Maharashtra.
Tel: 0721 - 672359. Fax: 670308 Email:
Field Director, P.O. Paratwada, Amravati, Maharashtra.
Tel: 0721-662792 / 62493.

Save Western Ghats, urge green experts 
Monday, June 7, 1999     EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE

MUMBAI, June 6: Environmental experts have called for the protection of the Western Ghats, one of the three `hot-spots' of biodiversity in India. The other two are the North-East and the Andamans and Nicobar Islands.

``India's biodiversity is our birthright,'' said Dr E K Barucha, Director, Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune, speaking on forests and biodiversity on the occasion of World Environmental Day on Saturday. He said India is rich in all the three kinds of biodiversity - genetic, species and eco-systems. The diverse ecosystem of the Himalayas which consists of the deciduous forests, the thorn forests, the mangroves, the desert, the evergreen forests, the plains, and the aquatic ecosystems support an animal and plant life which comprises 6.5 per cent of all the world's species.

Emphasising the potential these eco-systems have for the pharmaceutical sector, he said, ``We don't even know what half these species are or their potential to earn foreign exchange.''  The organiser of the meet, MaharashtraPollution Control Board (MPCB) had adopted the motto `Our earth, our future, just save it,' on the occasion which also marks the silver jubilee year of the promulgation of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Other experts focussed on environment related issues like industry and environment, water laws, forests and biodiversity.

Dr Pramod Deo, secretary, energy and environment, revealed that MPCB's infrastructure is inadequate to the tasks it has been assigned to which include finding out the source of pollutants, ensuring and authorising safe disposal of pollutants, checking pollution, reusing and recycling and advising industry. He stressed the proposed Environment Consultancy Organisation, a private sector body with an 11 per cent equity participation by the MPCB, should be a reality as soon as possible. ``MPCB will provide infrastructure and facilitate all its activities,'' he added.

Speaking on the link between the industry and water management, consulting engineer Dr SatishChilekar said water management options should be part of planning an industrial operation, and not an afterthought. ``Treatment of water,'' he said, ``should be the last option.'' He stressed the need for setting industrial benchmarks for water consumption and setting aside part of profits for treatment of water so that it can be recycled and reused.

A K Mhaskar's, former regional officer of MPCB, said the the old legislation on water preservation was far more stringent against violators and allowed for conviction and provided a 30-day warning period which allowed industries time to take steps.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


Published on the Internet with due credit to  any agency holding copyright to any of the text above.

PROTECTED AREAS Update is produced every two months, as a follow-up to the workshop on Exploring the Possibilities of Joint Protected Area Management (JPAM), organised at the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi, in September 1994.

PA Update 21 was prepared by Pankaj Sekhsaria and Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh. Illustrations by Peeyush Sekhsaria Several news items were accessed from Centre for Science and Environment's Green File, but have been credited to their original sources.
Apartment 5, Shri Dutta Krupa, 908 Deccan Gymkhana, Pune 411 004, Maharashtra, India. Tel/Fax: 020-5654239 (pl. note change of number)

(c) Maharashtra Vanyapraani Mitra Parishad


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