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Tiger corridors to face increased threat with proposed FRA dilution


Monday, 16 March 2015 | Agency: dna webdesk

The ministry’s decision to ease forest clearances and to exempt linear projects such as highways and railway lines from the ambit of forest clearances will impact critical tiger habitats connecting major tiger reserves.

With the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) ready with a draft notification that will allow forest clearance for infrastructure projects without consent from gram sabhas of tribals, top-ranking officials from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) said that a rigorous regulatory process has to be in place to curb fragmentation of tiger habitats outside protected areas.

The ministry’s decision to ease forest clearances and to exempt linear projects such as highways and railway lines from the ambit of forest clearances will impact critical tiger habitats connecting major tiger reserves. During the release of the latest tiger population estimation report, NTCA had made it clear that conservation of these critical habitat linkages will be at the heart of sustaining the 30% rise in tiger population, that currently stands at 2,226.

“We cannot object directly to these projects unless our expert opinion is sought by the forest advisory committees. But there has to be a strong regulatory process that will see to it that projects do not disturb key tiger habitats connecting protected areas,” a top-ranking NTCA official told dna on the condition of anonymity. The official went on to add, “Having said that, these habitats cannot solely exist for movement of animals and hence projects cannot be stopped on that basis.” NTCA and Wildlife Institute of India have broadly identified the Shivalik hills and Gangetic plain landscape, central India landscape and eastern ghats, Western Ghats landscape complex, Sundarbans, north-east hills and Brahmaputra flood plains as the major tiger habitats that comprise of several more corridors. “Conservation efforts cannot be restricted only to protected areas as tigersmove around a large landscape. For the tiger population to sustain, conservation of key corridors has to be an imperative,” the NTCA official added.



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