Ban on mining a boon for tiger reserve

Ban on mining a boon for tiger reserve

Sanjeev Kumar Verma, TNN 10 December 2009, 04:43am IST

PATNA: Excessive human interference in the forest areas has often been cited as one of the main reason behind the adverse affect on wildlife.

Bihar’s Valmiki Nagar Wildlife Sanctuary, from which the Valmiki Nagar Tiger Reserve has been carved out, has shown how check on human interference can do wonders to wildlife.

This pertains to ban on mining of stones from the bed of the Pandai river, which flows through the sanctuary. Thanks to the Supreme Court directive in the T N Godavarman Thirumalpad vs Union of India case, mining from the river bed was completely banned after 2002.

Since the ban was made effective seven years back, the area along the bank of river Pandai has witnessed many changes. The most notable among them has been re-appearance of green cover.

“Earlier, the whole area used to wear a barren look as hundreds of tractors used to make rounds to carry stoned quarried from the river bed. Moreover, the ban has also resulted in disappearance of stone crushers from the areas nearby,” said Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) assistant manager Samir Sinha.

Echoing Sinha’s views, a forest department official said, “The ban has proved to a boon for the wildlife.”

The return of natural flora has ushered in many positive changes.

It has given the wildlife a broader habitat manifested by movement of prey species in the grassy banks of the river. And availability of prey base along the river banks and undisturbed river bed has given the predators a bigger range to move around in an area spread over about 65 sq km east of Pandai river.

“Earlier, the movement of tigers was restricted to the west of the river. Now they are visible even beyond the eastern bank of the river,” Sinha said.

The icing on the cake, of course, is presence of migratory birds in and around the river. Flock of black storks and lesser adjutant now visit the area during winter.

There are, however, two aspects which the forest department is yet to address __ declaring eco-sensitive zone and including the rehabilitated area in core/critical area of the Tiger reserve.

“As soon as the Supreme Court pronounces its stand on the eco-sensitive zone, we’ll start the process of notifying areas which should fall under the zone,” Bihar chief wildlife warden Bashir Ahmed Khan said.

He said, “The process of delineating the core/critical area of the tiger reserve is underway and it is likely to take another six months to finalise things.”


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