As told to Parliament (March 31, 2022): Gir’s lion density is 15.20 individuals per 100 sq km

All that was discussed in the House through the day

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 31 March 2022

The density of lions in the Gir and Greater Gir forest areas is 15.20 individuals per 100 square kilometres according to the last population estimation of Asiatic Lions in the Gir landscape conducted by the Gujarat Forest Department in June 2020.

However, no study has been conducted to assess the carrying capacity of the Gir and Greater Gir forest areas, Ashwini Kr Choubey, minister of state in the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest And Climate Change (MoEF&CC) told the Rajya Sabha March 31, 2022.  

Forest dwellers

The MoEF&CC has not conducted any specific study to monitor the effect of climate change on traditional forest dwellers. The India State of Forest Report (ISFR) published by the ministry shows that forest cover has increased at the national level by 21,762 square kilometres in the last one decade.

There is no decreasing trend in forest cover of the country, Choubey said.

North East forests

Tree cover in North East India is 4,574 sq km according to the ISFR-2021. This is an increase of 365 sq km as compared to the previous assessment in ISFR-2019.

The total forest cover in North East India is 169,521 sq km according to ISFR-2021. This is a decrease of 1,020 sq km, Choubey said.

The loss in forest cover in the North East may be attributed mainly to natural calamities, anthropogenic pressure, developmental activities and shifting cultivation practices, Choubey said.


Some 164,663 tonnes; 224,041 tonnes and 354,291 tonnes of e-waste were collected and processed during 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 respectively according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Choubey told the Rajya Sabha.

Thermal power 

The MoEF&CC had notified emission norms on December 7, 2015 for Sulphur dioxide (SO2) for coal / lignite-based thermal power plants (TPPs), which were to be implemented within two years from the notification, Choubey said.

The ministry extended the timeline for implementation of the emission norms for SO2. The rationale of raised timelines was based on environmental considerations, Chuobey said.

Twenty units run by central or private entities have installed wet flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) technology and dry sorbent injection technology for de-sulphurisation of flue gas from TPPs. However, no state-run plant has installed FGD units, Choubey added. 

Himalayan glaciers

Four glacierised basins (Chandra, Bhaga, Miyar and Parvati) in the western Himalayas showed an overall decreasing trend of precipitation during 1979-2018, Jitendra Singh, minister of state (Independent Charge) in the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) told the Rajya Sabha.

This was according to studies from the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, under the MoES, Singh said. 

However, this trend was not monotonic, with higher (23.9 per cent) reduction in precipitation during accumulation (winter) season than ablation (summer) season (15.4 per cent).

Also, studies indicated that while snowfall is decreasing, the liquid precipitation (rainfall) has been increasing over these glacierised basins particularly during the accumulation months, Singh added.

Water stress 

India’s dynamic groundwater resources are assessed jointly by Central Ground Water Board and state governments. 

Some 85 of a total 141 assessment units (blocks) in Haryana have been categorised as ‘over-exploited’, 12 blocks as ‘critical’ and 14 blocks as ‘semi- critical’ according to the 2020 assessment, Bishweswar Tudu, Union minister of state for Jal Shakti (water resources) told the Lok Sabha.

River pollution

Some 351 polluted stretches have been identified on 323 rivers, based on monitoring results in terms of Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), an indicator of organic pollution, Tudu told the Lok Sabha.

These figuresare according to the last report published by CPCB in September 2018.

The National River Conservation Plan has so far covered polluted stretches on 34 rivers in 77 towns spread over 16 states in the country, with the project sanctioned cost of Rs 6,050 crore.

Inter-alia, a sewage treatment capacity of 2,677 million litres per day (mld) has been created. Under the Namami Gange programme, a total of 364 projects, including 160 projects for sewage treatment of 5,024 mld and a sewer network of 5,227 km have been sanctioned at a cost of Rs 30,853 crore, Tudu said.

Water testing 

There are 2,022 drinking water quality testing laboratories at different levels such as state, district, sub-division and / or block level in the country, Prahlad Singh Patel, Union minister of state for Jal Shakti told the Lok Sabha.

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