Wildlife wing of MP forest has no record of compliance of wildlife clearance for last 10 yrs RTI

Bhopal, Sep 21 : The Wildlife wing of Madhya Pradesh???s forest department has no record of compliance certificates pertaining to wildlife clearance regarding the non-forestry activities sanctioned within the forest for the past more than 10 years, an RTI revealed. Notably, non-forestry activities like ??? construction of roads, railway track, mining, pond, electricity lines etc. in the forest areas are carried only after getting clearance from the state Wildlife board. The proper implementation of mitigation measures can save lives of wildlife, including endangered species like tiger leopard sloth bear reptiles. Wildlife clearance consists of certain guidelines imposed by the National Wildlife Board under the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). The clearance issued to ensure that non-forestry the proposed project will not be harmful for the animals and protect the flora and fauna of that particular forest zone from getting destroyed. Upon receiving the proposal for development works, the state wildlife board seeks the approval from the national board. Notably, the state wildlife board is headed by the chief minister while the National wildlife board is headed by the Prime Minister. The state chief wildlife warden office is supposed to carry out a regular inspection of the projects to ensure that the conditions imposed by the MoEFCC are mitigated. The state chief wildlife warden office then submitted annual reports of the same to the national wildlife board. The state wildlife warden has recently issued notices to the national parks and sanctuaries and district forest offices and has sought detailed reports of compliance certificates regarding conditions imposed by the national wildlife board from 2011 to 2021. Importantly, it came after a Bhopal-based wildlife activist Ajay Dube filed an RTI to seek a reply regarding the status of the wildlife clearance in different non-forestry activities done the past one decade in different forest zones in Madhya Pradesh. "You (referring to heads of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries) directed to submit a detailed report of non-forestry activities ??? road, railway track, pipeline, electricity line, pond dam etc. carried out in the respective forest areas from 2011 to 2021," the notice by wildlife wing board available with IANS stated. The wildlife wing has sought a report on excel sheet with details comparing the name of the project, name of applicants, date of meeting of state and national wildlife boards and details of the compliances. The board has sought the detailed report from all national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the next one week. Importantly, Kuno National Park (KNP) which has become the place for India???s ambitious ???project cheetah??? and 20 foreign cheetahs (eight from Namibia and 12 from South Africa) were released as pilot projects. Wildlife activist Ajay Dube said, "It is very surprising that the state wildlife board does not have a record of wildlife clearance for more than the last 10 years. The state board is supposed to submit annual reports of all projects to the national wildlife board after proper field inspections. "I will approach the supreme court seeking high level inquiry of this syndicate of forest officials and private contractors who have indulged in violating Wildlife and Forest Conservation Act since the last 10 years." /IANS


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