Is the Indian Government destroying our Forests & Wildlife?
Under the guise of development & industrial expansion, the current central government has brought about many new changes especially relaxing the tough environmental laws we had. Many of the highlights which I can mention are :
(Please Read Aug 9th Sunday New York Times Article “Is India Selling out its Tigers” where many claims are made which I have independently verified to be true and I had even blogged about it on July 29th – Wildlife: July 29th is Tiger’s Day but July 16th Seems to be Tiger Mourning Day):
- The 2015 budget cut funding for the environment ministry by 25 percent and support for tiger protection by 15 percent
- River-diversion scheme approved that would submerge nearly one-third of the Panna Tiger Reserve, a project that had been shelved by Jairam Ramesh, the environment minister under the previous national government, who had called it a “disastrous” idea
- A road that runs along the edge of the Pench Tiger Reserve is slated to become a four-lane highway — without overpasses for wildlife at crucial crossings.
- New coal mines are planned for central India, where hundreds of tigers live in a string of reserves.
- Over 125 dams have been proposed for northeast India’s mighty Brahmaputra River system, including the huge Dibang River project, which was twice rejected by the previous government because it would inundate pristine forest. One gem at risk from dams planned or being built is Kaziranga National Park, home to more than 100 tigers, huge elephant herds and Asia’s largest population of Indian one-horned rhinos.
- Beyond current efforts to rewrite India’s environmental laws, the Modi government is also trying to limit expert and public participation in the process. “Environmental activism is now seen as a threat to the country’s economic growth prospects.”
- In January, the Ministry of Home Affairs prevented the Greenpeace campaigner Priya Pillai from flying to England, where she was scheduled to speak to members of Parliament about the impact of coal mining in India. The government then froze the group’s bank accounts, and in April, it canceled the registration of nearly 9,000 charities and advocacy groups.
- In the name of ease of doing business, Central government is planning to curtail Inspections and would leave to businesses to voluntarily disclose their pollution and monitor their compliance.
Imagine what kind of a horrible future this will bring out? Impossible for us to imagine India without a Kaziranga or a Panna or a Pench. It is becoming easier (to implement these environmentally unfriendly laws) as most of these states are ruled by the same party which runs the central government. When questioned, the central environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, claims that his goal is “development without destruction.” Yet proposed projects would bring widespread devastation of land and forests. India is losing an average of 333 acres of forest daily.
Thankfully for India and its forests, the big tiger reserves which has most of India’s tiger population in the three southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which are not ruled by the same party as the central government.
The New York Times article which I have quoted concludes with:
“The country will ultimately have to pay for short-term corporate profits with denuded land, polluted air, scarce, filthy water, ill health and the loss of its mighty national animal, the tiger.”
I can’t agree more. Sad state of affairs!! If you a wildlife enthusiast or if you care for wildlife conservation and/or if you care for india’s environment, you should stand up today against these atrocities. Remember as forest cover goes away will lead to more pollution, more soil erosion, increase in carbon-dioxide levels and higher temperatures and lot more issues. Here is a nice series of cartoons which explains the ill effects of deforestation.
BTW we are already one of the most polluted countries in the world with two of its rivers (including the sacred Ganges) are among the world’s most polluted, and 13 of the 20 cities with the most polluted air are in India, with Delhi at No. 1.
Wake up before it’s too late!! Let’s formulate a Development without destruction Plan!!
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