Bhitarkanika misses world heritage tag as State claims fall flat

Bhitarkanika has missed the World Heritage Site (WHS) tag in the natural properties category.

Published: 10th July 2017 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th July 2017 10:03 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Bhitarkanika has missed the World Heritage Site (WHS) tag in the natural properties category. Even as the World Heritage Committee currently meets at Poland’s Krakow to decide the final nominations, the mangrove eco-system was found wanting on several counts by IUCN which assessed its case in May.

The IUCN report stated that Bhitarkanika Conservation Area does not meet the necessary criteria in terms of integrity, protection or management requirements. It also did not find the “breathtaking natural beauty” claim of the State very convincing.

While recommending UNECSO not to inscribe the property under natural criteria, the international conservation body found severe shortcomings with the information in the dossier submitted by Forest Department seeking WHS status.

The report was not convinced about the protection status of Bhitarkanika Conservation Area which included Bhitarkanika National Park, Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and Gahirmatha Marine Water Sanctuary. The IUCN mission reported that much of the land within Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is privately owned by local community. Besides, there are other areas where the tenure of the land is currently under dispute.

“The mission noted that human impacts from communities situated within Bhitarkanika is extremely high as land use in this area is predominantly agriculture including livestock grazing and more recently conversion to shrimp aquaculture. Thus, this element of the property does not have an appropriate level of protection status,” it said.

Local boy Amiya Mallick’s career best timing of 21.03 seconds could not get him a medal as he finished a distant 7th in the 200m final. In the four events completed on Saturday, Purnima had scored 1014 points (100m hurdles), 867 (High Jump), 651 (Shot Put) and 900 (200m). She gathered 2,366 points including 840 (Long Jump), 650 (Javelin Throw) and 876 (800m) on the final day. She thanked the home crowd for the tremendous support. “The event was extremely difficult as it involved seven disciplines in two days. In the last edition at Wuhan, I got the bronze but this meet was challenging. I would try to qualify for the World Championship in London next month,” said the girl from Mayurbhanj.

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