Thursday, September 27, 2012

Protected Area Update - October 2012

PROTECTED AREA UPDATE
News and Information from protected areas in India and South Asia

Vol. XVIII No. 5                                                
October 2012 (No. 99)

LIST OF CONTENTS
EDITORIAL               
The real costs of Coalgate

NEWS FROM INDIAN STATES
ASSAM
- Two poachers killed in Rajiv Gandhi (Orang) NP
- Elephant killed by speeding train near Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary

GUJARAT
- Scanty rainfall in Gir; FD makes alternative arrangement

KARNATAKA
- State opposes TR status for Kudremukh

KERALA
- Solar powered fences for Wayanad forests

MADHYA PRADESH
- Tribal museum to be set up near Kanha TR

MAHARASHTRA
- Wildlife conservation plan for Chandrapur district
- Panel for management plan for Pench Tiger Reserve buffer zone
- State wildlife board clears Gargai Dam; to submerge part of Tansa WLS

NAGALAND
- Workshop on Community Conserved Areas in Nagaland

ORISSA
- Alternative livelihoods planned for Simlipal forest dwellers

RAJASTHAN
- Mordoongri village moves out of Ranthambhore
- More tigers to be re-located to Sariska TR

TAMIL NADU
- Buffer zones notified for Anaimalai, Mudumalai and Kalakkad Mundanthurai TRs
- Merchants federation urges exclusion of Valparai from Anaimalai TR
- In-principle nod for Sathyamangalam TR; proposal for TR status for Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel and Meghamalai WLS
- CEC rejects road connecting Theni forests and Srivilliputhur Grizzled Squirrel Sanctuary
- Delay in relocation from Mudumalai TR

UTTAR PRADESH
- Thermal power plant in Sonbhadra rejected because of proximity to Kaimur WLS

NATIONAL NEWS FROM INDIA
- CBSE warns against use of rare/endangered species in classrooms
- Coal mining threat to 1.1 million ha of forest, over 10 tiger reserves in Central India
- The IBN Network Young Indian Leader award for Kamal Medhi
- TN Khushoo Memorial Award for Vidya Athreya
- Five new tiger reserves approved

SOUTH ASIA               
- Bhutan, India, and Nepal agree to enhance cooperation in the Kanchenjunga Landscape

BANGLADESH
- 10,000 deer killed every year in the Sundarbans

SPECIAL SECTIONS
-- THE FOREST RIGHTS ACT, PROTECTED AREAS AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

NATIONAL NEWS
- Tiger reserve cores, buffers and ecotourism  An update

GUJARAT
- Consultation in Kachchh on the FRA

-- IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS UPDATE

NATIONAL NEWS
- Concern over threat to vultures from veterinary painkiller Aceclofenac

ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS
- Coast Guard radar project on Narcondam Island rejected

GUJARAT
- Gujarat has the highest number of Lesser floricans

MAHARASHTRA
- Six wetlands proposed as Ramsar sites
- New IBAs being identified in Maharashtra

PUNJAB
- Fishing contractors raid range office at Harike Wildlife Sanctuary

TAMIL NADU
- No new construction work within 5 km radius around bird sanctuaries near Chennai

******
Quick NEWS                                       
READERS RESPOND                                   
FROM THE ARCHIVES: A Decade Ago                           
PERSPECTIVE                                            
Thoughts from a conservation gathering: SCB Asia 2012
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EDITORIAL

--  The real costs of Coalgate--

How much really is Rs. 1.86 lakh crore? This is the figure presently doing the rounds of the loss the nation has incurred because of the corruption in the allocation of coals blocks in different parts of the country. This huge amount of money is at the centre of a huge churning that is taking place in the political establishment and in the media. There is an outrage at what looks like a loot of unprecedented proportions.
    Even as political parties slug it out, skeletons tumble out of corporate cupboards, as the electronic media finds juicy bits to occupy airtime and the many column inches of newspaper space get consumed by Coalgate, there is a more fundamental question that has neither been asked nor answered - what is it really that we are losing? The Rs. 1.86 lakh crore is an evaluation in one dimension, in one metric, actually, in only one world view. It is a computation of the loss in Indian National Rupees (INR) that has been incurred to the national treasury because a whole set of people (almost) successfully ducked the system. It is the alleged illegality, the cheating of the system where the real money for the coal was not paid.
    But, what if we assume for a moment that the game would be played by the book, that there would be competitive bidding, that the correct price would be paid? The state would earn the Rs. 1.86 lakh crore but would anything else change? To answer that question, even if as a partial counterpoint, one has to look at Greenpeace Indias most recent report How coal mining is thrashing tigerland (Page 12). Over 1.1 million hectares of forest, mostly dense, is at risk from coal mining in just 13 coalfields in Central India that the report analyses; there are 40 other coalfields which still remain to be evaluated.
These forests are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna including mega fauna such as the tiger, leopard and elephant; these forests are the carbon sinks which we want to exploit and market in international fora; and these are the lands that are home to thousands of adivasi communities who have lived here for generations. The Rs. 1.86 lakh crore is only the notional value of a single resource that lies buried deep; it does not include the value of anything and everything else, even if a valuation was indeed possible.
    The mining, where it will happen or where it has already happened, cares neither for the estimated economic losses nor the legality. The coal is the same, the processes are the same and the outcomes are same. The forests will be ripped apart, watersheds will be destroyed, rivers and streams poisoned, livelihoods and cultures of the adivasi communities sacrificed at the alter of development. It doesnt matter that these people bear the lightest footprint on the planet in these times of a climate change crisis and neither will it matter that many of these forests are adjacent to tiger reserves or are part of corridors linking one tiger or elephant habitat to another. Lets also not forget that conservation policies which aggressively seek to evict traditional communities for purposes of conservation are rendered almost completely impotent in the context of this discourse.
    Coalgate could be an eye-opener, but only if we understood the real value of this Rs. 1.86 lakh crore!

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PROTECTED AREA UPDATE
Vol. XVIII, No. 5, October 2012 (No. 99)
Editor: Pankaj Sekhsaria
Editorial Assistance: Reshma Jathar, Anuradha Arjunwadkar
Illustrations: Madhuvanti Anantharajan, Peeyush Sekhsaria
Produced by
The Documentation and Outreach Centre
KALPAVRIKSH
Apartment 5, Shri Dutta Krupa, 908 Deccan Gymkhana, Pune 411004, Maharashtra, India.
Tel/Fax: 020  25654239. Email: psekhsaria@gmail.com
Website: http://kalpavriksh.org/protected-area-update
Publication of the PA Update has been supported by

- Foundation for Ecological Security (FES)
 http://fes.org.in/
- Duleep Matthai Nature Conservation Trust,  C/o FES
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - India
- Bombay Natural History Society
- Action Aid
- Donations from a number of individual supporters

Information has been sourced from different newspapers and
http://indiaenvironmentportal.org.in; www.conservationindia.org

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