New Delhi: The Union environment ministry is often attacked by green activists for not monitoring stipulated norms while clearing projects.
Now, a member of the expert wildlife panel has complained to environment minister Anil Madhav Dave to find a solution for it.
The issue arose during the recent meeting, which was held in January, of the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) when one of its expert member H.S. Singh highlighted the issue.
“H.S. Singh explained that standing committee recommends the projects/activities, on a case to case basis, subject to certain mitigation measures to minimise the adverse impact on wildlife. He lamented that there is no monitoring of the terms and conditions stipulated while recommending the projects/proposals," said the minutes of the meeting of the NBWL’s standing committee.
NBWL is the highest body related to wildlife matters, and is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
However, its work is handled by NBWL’s standing committee since the board does not meet regularly.
The standing committee, which is headed by minister Dave, is entrusted with responsibility of giving green clearances to projects that pass through protected areas like tiger reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and also those falling within 10-kilometre distance of the wildlife sanctuary or national parks.
During the meeting, Singh also highlighted that India needed to enhance the protected area network in accordance with Aichi Targets to 17% from 4.9% (of its geographical area).
India has over 600 protected areas—national parks and wildlife sanctuaries—across 161,221 sq.km, which is around 4.9% of the country’s total geographical area.
As per targets set in Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference in Nagoya in Aichi province of Japan in 2010, by 2020, it has to be increased to 17%.
He also mentioned that a network of marine protected areas needed to be created.
“The member secretary brought to notice that advisory has been issued to all CWLW (chief wildlife wardens) of states to put effort to identify and notify such forest areas as community reserves. After discussions, the standing committee decided to hold a separate meeting exclusively for the policy matters. The committee also requested other members to submit policy proposals for consideration in that meeting," the minutes noted.
A senior official of the wildlife division of the ministry said many issues are pending for a decision and soon a meeting will be convened to address all such policy matters.