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Coal winner as tiger area of 300 football fields diverted



TIMES OF INDIA
Vijay Pinjarkar,TNN | Sep 3, 2015

 NAGPUR: At a time when the BJP government in the state is appointing a consultant to make Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) a world-class destination and has also named megastar Amitabh Bachchan and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar as tiger ambassadors, the forest advisory committee (FAC) of the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC) has cleared 121.58 hectare tiger-bearing area (as big as about 300 football fields) in Durgapur in Chandrapur district for coal mining to Western Coalfields Limited (WCL).

The clearance has been granted despite forest officials' site inspection reports mentioning that reserve forest compartment numbers 400, 401, 402 and survey no. 262/1 of zudpi jungle, that are proposed to be diverted, has presence of tigers and leopards besides rich fauna. The diversion of 121.58 hectare forest for Durgapur (deep) extension open cast mine is to exploit 2 MT coal per annum to be supplied to Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station (CSTPS). The Rs42.98 crore project, which was granted environment clearance on March 16, 2012, will damage tiger ecology critically as it will involve felling of 13,457 big trees and 64,349 bamboos.

Though the proposed area is 12.25km from the boundary of Tadoba, it is on the northern side of Chandrapur-Mul road. The mining area is just 1.2km from the south-western boundary of TATR-buffer. It is part of the corridor linking TATR with Junona and further south to Kanhalgaon (proposed sanctuary) then Kawal Tiger Reserve (Telangana) and Indravati Tiger Reserve (Chhattisgarh).


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