Raipur, Aug 15
Korba, the power capital of Chhattisgarh, is nationally famous for Korba Coal field on basin of river Hasde, tributary of river Mahanadi. Not less than 671 registered industrial units apart from small industrial units have been operating in industrial zone of Korba and Rajgamar. The forest region of the district in Bilaspur division is inhabited by protected tribe Hill Karwa.
A team of environmental scientists deputed by Biodiversity Watch visited forest region of Lemru, industrial area of Vistal, Jsmnipasli, Gopalpur and Patadi to make observation and assessment of Wild Life conservation situation. The tribal people, community elites, forest officers were consulted.
It was reported that on the strength of Environment Impact Assessment report, all industries have submitted site specific wildlife conservation plan for environment clearance. Unfortunately, this plan is never reviewed by panel of environmental and wild life experts at pre-appraisal stage. So far, rare evaluation study on implementation of wildlife conservation plan executed by these industries has been made and brought to public domain.
It is not reported that to what extent these industries have provided stress free habitat to wild life in impact area and what safeguard measures and protection are provided to wild life from unsavoury elements. Rarely, some industries have provided capacity building intervention of local people for wild life conservation and eco-development. In Lemru forest region, fragmentation, shrinkage and deterioration of habitat has geared up man – elephant conflict apart from destruction of wild life and generation of animosity against wildlife.
However, Forest Department, Government of Chhattisgarh has proposed to establish Elephant Reserve in Lemru forest region to minimise man elephant conflict and provide safe measures for wild life conservation. In other industrial region of the district, a very insignificant initiative has been initiated to reduce biotic interference affecting the growth of wild animal and involving local people in wild life conservation. The urgent need for initiating special management measures for habitat of endangered animals have been overlooked by the industries.
These industries have not only grossly failed to provide habitat supplement to spill over population of wild life from project area to impact area but also failed to arrange safe spillover corridor for wildlife from impact area to rich never baring forest area. The environmental activists urge that these industries need to support from CSR fund towards mainstreaming community based and people centered wild life conservation through development of lakes and ponds for water animals, promotion of water regime in the region, creation of mass awareness on wild life conservation and minimizing man animal conflict, controlling illegal trade and poaching in wildlife and their products, controlling fire incidence and minimizing grazing. District authority has potential resources District mining fund for initiating surveillance on man-animal conflict and involving panel of experts not only to scrutinize wild life conservation pre appraisal plan but also evaluate the proper execution of wild life conservation plan submitted by industries for environmental clearance. The consultancy services of retired senior forest bureaucrats may be explored for this great wild life conservation task.
(Author is a Biodiversity Scientist, Mekelle University. Views expressed in the article are author’s personal.)