Maharashtra Govt Diverts Forest Land Equivalent To 293 Football Fields To Private Company
The Logical Indian Crew Maharashtra
October 30th, 2018 / 5:33 PM
At a time when man-animal conflict is increasing with the subsequent decrease of forest area, the Forest Advisory Committee in-principle cleared 87.98-hectare of forest land in Chakdoh, Maharashtra. The land has been given to an explosives company, Solar Industries India Ltd (SIIL) for the manufacture of defence products.
According to The Times of India, the 222-acre reserve forest, which is equivalent to 293 full football stadiums in Chakdoh in Kondhali and Kalmeshwar ranges, 40kms from Nagpur, might be worth way over Rs 100 crores. However, SIIL will be paying a mere amount of Rs 7.09 crore. The company will spend Rs 7 crore on compensatory afforestation and also build artificial bird nests.
Reportedly, this compensatory afforestation will be done in the forest minister’s hometown, Ratnagiri. The land that is in question is home to at least six tigers, four males and two females. The area is also rich in flora and fauna.
Expert’s advice not considered
This decision came on July 25, 2017, after FAC granted stage-I clearance, under Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. This decision is based on the state government’s recommendation on February 16, 2016. In Yavatmal region in the state, 467 hectares of forest land has recently been diverted to Reliance.
There were three expert reports submitted to the Maharastra government which urged them not to divert the land as the area, in particular, has tigers, leopards and is also rich in flora and fauna. The area also has tiger cubs along with the six adult tigers, spotted deer, barking deer, wild dogs, wild boars, sambars, nilgai and civets. These animals can also be found on the 5 km radius of the land acquired by the company.
In the last 10 months, 26 people lost their lives because of man-animal conflict in the area. In the Kondhali and Kalmeshwar ranges, at least one incident of cattle attack by wild animals is reported every week. Annually, there are at least 200 incidents of crop damage from the area.
The Logical Indian Take
India’s growing population has confined wildlife to the ever-shrinking forests and grasslands. Reports have come out which show that between the years 2014-2017, one person lost his/her life every day because of the man-animal conflict.
The growth of human settlement is considered an economic development, but it is the animals who are paying a heavy price as they are competing with humans for food and shelter. Wildlife experts have said that territorial animals lack space within reserves and their prey also lack enough fodder to survive on. This forces wild animals to move out and venture close to human habitations in search of food.
It is us who are encroaching on their land and taking away their means of survival. The Logical Indian requests the state government to reconsider the decision.
Written by : Poorbita Bagchi
Edited by : Abhinav Joshi