Jun 9, 2015
In a move to resolve increasing man-animal conflict especially those causing damages to crops, Environment ministry on Monday said that it has sought report from the states to declare certain overpopulated animals as vermin for a limited period of time. Once declared vermin, that particular species can be hunted without restriction. “We had issued a circular in this regard earlier also. In areas where farmers are facing huge problems due to animals, there is a procedure to declare them as ‘vermin’ like blue bull and wild boar for a particular period of time,” said Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. “As soon as we get states’ response on this, we will give them permission to declare such animals as ‘vermin’ for a limited period of time,” he said. If implemented, it will apply to wild animals listed in various Schedules of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972. The provisions to declare wild animals as problem animals are already there in the WPA, the Minister said. Listing one year’s achievements of his Ministry, Javadekar said 20,000 hectare of land has been added to forest land for afforestation while approving projects.”Whenever we give approval for a project on forest land, they are supposed to provide equivalent land on non-forest land. This way, in past one year, we have managed to add 20,000 hectare to the forest land,” he said.
The government in past one year gave approvals to 5,500 projects of which more than 3,200 were submitted online. Speaking on measures taken for increasing forest cover, Javadekar said new guidelines are being prepared to make 1,00,000 Joint Forest Management Committees more effective and plan is on the anvil for improving fodder and water in protected areas. “The availability of fodder and water in a forest is very crucial as the lack of it encourages animals to come out for food,” he said. The Minister also said that the government has decided to launch new diploma and degree courses in Animal Welfare. “The courses will be started by our National Institute of Animal Welfare in collaboration with other universities,” he said. Javadekar said that government has planned three new tiger reserves, one in Bor, Maharashtra, and Rajaji in Uttarakhand and Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh. “Due to our better maintenance of forest, the wildlife has also been improved. The tiger population has now reached 2,226, which is 70 per cent of the world’s tiger population. There is 24 per cent growth in lions with 523. The Rhino have also increased. Their population is 2,889 with 2,401 in Kaziranga. And elephants are over 30,000,” he said. Observing that poaching was a big problem, the Minister said tough actions were taken and 30 poachers were killed in a drive against this. “Many Forest Guards were also killed.” Four villages and 651 families were relocated from four protected areas and the families were given Rs 10 lakh each, he said. Government has reconstituted National Board of Wildlife and held four meetings in last one year and approved 225 proposals with stringent environmental conditions. As many as 222 eco-sensitive zones were approved for providing effective buffer zone for wildlife areas after scientific evaluation and public consultation. “By court order, there are 600 protected areas in the country. Now we have started a programme to mark buffer zones with the help of states which is in addition to the earlier existing protected areas,” he said. A National Mission on Himalayan Studies will also be established by the Ministry. “We have no studies on Himalayas, or on receding glaciers. To remove this data deficit on glaciers and on landslides, the Mission has been set up which will also help in infrastructure related studies on Himalayas,” he said. The National Forest Policy is being revised to ensure more greening, improving forest quality with the participation of tribals and forest dwellers, Javadekar said, adding that the 14th Finance Commission has given 7.5 per cent weightage for forest cover and has provided for nearly Rs 55,000 crore for afforestation. He said that forest stocking (volume) in the country’s forests have stabilised in the backdrop of negative trend earlier and effective National Afforestation Programme on 75,000 ha of degraded land has been done. He said that new scheme for Green Credit is on the anvil while his ministry is also considering PPP mode for afforestation on degraded forest land. “14 states have submitted their perspective plans for Green India Mission out of which 6 have already been approved,” he said. Noting that top priority has been given for cleaning water by stopping industrial pollution in rivers and water bodies, Javadekar said new norms for Sewage Treatment Plants have been notified. He said that his Ministry has taken up Bio-remediation for drains joining Ganga while mini-lab for major ghats to monitor bathing water quality at important ghats along Ganga is being done. He said that eight water Quality Monitoring Stations are active and 113 more have been planned. The Minister said that a special drive to address water pollution issues in every state is being undertaken. The Environment Minister said that 64 polluting and non-complying industries on the banks of Ganga and 61 industries throughout the country have been closed while units are allowed to be reopened only after complying the pollution norms. He said that 11 units in Uttar Pradesh and seven units in Delhi have been closed for producing plastic carry bags below 40 microns. He said that technology-based monitoring systems are being expanded for forest appraisal, wildlife management and pollution control while drones, electronic surveillance, camera traps, 24×7 pollution monitoring devices, geo-mapping are being increasingly used.
As posted in Thestatesman.com