- Damage control: The NGT wants the report to include the steps required for restoration of the habitat. Getty Images/iStockphotoJagdeep Rajput
- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Uttarakhand government not to proceed with the Pakhro tiger safari project inside the Corbett Tiger Reserve until a committee submits its final report on the alleged illegal cutting of trees inside the reserve for the project.
- The tribunal had earlier taken cognisance of The Hindu report on felling of trees at the Reserve.
- The report had quoted a Forest Survey of India (FSI) report saying that over 6,000 trees were illegally felled to facilitate the project against the permission given for cutting 163.
- “Thus, accountability needs to be fixed for such violations and the damage to the environment restored, following due process of law.
- Accordingly, we constitute a three-member committee comprising the Directors-General of the Forest Department, Wildlife Department and Project Tiger to identify the violators and the steps required for restoration of environment.
- It further ordered the State government not to proceed with the project until the committee submits its report with specific recommendations that may be furnished to the Secretary of the Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change within one month.
- The report should also include steps for further course of action, the Bench ordered.
- Earlier, Anoop Singh, Director-General of the Forest Survey of India, in his report to the NGT, had maintained that the area of sites where the trees were cut — as mentioned in the letter from the Uttarakhand government — has been calculated using a GPS survey done by the Geographic Information System (GIS) team of the FSI and Google Earth imagery.
- “The number of trees observed per hectare from all the inventory plots when multiplied with the area figures of a particular site gives the number of estimated trees felled at that particular site. By adding the estimated trees at different sites, the total estimated number of trees felled are arrived in the study area,” the FSI told the NGT.
About Corbett Tiger Reserve
Spans over an extent of 520 square km.
The whole area comprises hills, marshy depressions, riverine belts, grasslands and a large lake.
Rivers: Ramganga, Kosi&Sonanadi.
- Established in 1936 as Hailey National Park after Sir Malcolm Hailey, the governor of the United Province.
- It was renamed Ramganga National Park, named after the river that flows through it, shortly after Independence and was rechristened yet again as Corbett National Park in 1956.
- Corbett has the glory of being India’s oldest and most prestigious National Park.
- It is a part of the larger Corbett Tiger Reserve, a Project Tiger Reserve.
- It is honoured as the place where Project Tiger was first launched in 1973.
- According to the Botanical Survey of India, Corbett has 600 species of plants comprising trees, shrubs, ferns, grass, climbers, herbs and bamboo.
- More than 75% of the total area of Corbett is dominated by Sal forests.
- Apart from Royal Bengal Tiger, it is also home to a sizable population of the endangered Asiatic elephant and other critically endangered species including the Gharial.
- Mammal speciesinclude Asiatic Black Bear, Hog Deer, Walking Deer, Sambar, Sloth Bear, etc., a diversity of aqua fauna and birdlife with approximately 600 species including the great pied hornbill, white-Backed Vulture, Hodgson’s bush chat, etc. and reptiles like mugger Crocodiles, the king Cobra, etc.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB