Halt encroachments in Mirzapur sloth bear reserve, government told

The forest, site of the proposed reserve, is a habitat for for at least 24 threatened terrestrial animals unique to the Vindhyan-Kaimoor region.
Halt encroachments in Mirzapur sloth bear reserve, government told

NEW DELHI: Environmentalists have written a letter to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, demanding immediate intervention to stop encroachments and constructions in a proposed sloth bear conservation reserve in Mirzapur forest division of eastern Uttar Pradesh.

The forest, site of the proposed reserve, is a habitat for for at least 24 threatened terrestrial animals unique to the Vindhyan-Kaimoor region.

Vindhyan Ecology and Natural History Foundation (VENHF), a voluntary research group comprising environmental scientists, GIS experts, lawyers, and concerned residents, has drawn attention to violations of conservation laws, such as Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and Rules, Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, in the Marihan range of the Mirzapur forest division.

The letter pointed out construction of roads by clearing large-scale vegetation with heavy machinery, and other construction activities in the forest adjoining Dadri Khurd, Sarso-Kumbia Marg, and Jogia Dari waterfall in the last couple of days. “There has been massive earthwork undertaken to clear vegetation, dig out soil, and construct a road,” said Debadityo Sinha, founding trustee of VENHF.

The letter, which attached some photographs clicked from the site on June 27, also said the same site was earlier proposed for a 1320-MW coal-based thermal power plant to be set up by a private firm.

However, the environmental clearance of the said project was set aside by the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal, New Delhi, on December 21, 2016.

The tribunal also directed that the site be restored to its original condition. “It came to my notice that the company has again applied for the environmental clearance for the same project,” said Debadityo Sinha. The letter also underlined that the forest land is an important part of environmentally sensitive zone and is the catchment of several tributaries of the river Ganga, which flows to the north.

Rich and crucial ecosystem

Mirzapur forest division of eastern Uttar Pradesh is part of the proposed Sloth Bear Conservation Reserve

The forest is a crucial habitat for at least 24 threatened terrestrial animal species unique to Vindhyan-Kaimoor ecosystem, including leopard, Bengal fox and striped hyena

Road construction, heavy earth work and largescale clearing of vegetation in the forest adjoining to Dadri Khurd, Sarso-Kumbia Marg & Jogia Dari waterfall are harming wildlife

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