Wildlife & Biodiversity

Tadoba reserve: Tourism is good news, but infra projects bad

While wildlife tourism earned the reserve 286% more revenue in the past five years, the park needs to be protected from infrastructural projects, says Parliamentary panel

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Thursday 14 February 2019
Photo: Getty Images

The Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Chandra pur district of Maharashtra, which has been a hit with wildlife enthusiasts, needs to be protected from the pressure that various projects related to infrastructure, irrigation, etc can put, according to a Parliamentary panel.

The national park has, in the past five years (2012-13 and 2017-18), seen tourist footfall double (to 1.73 lakh from 86,557) leading to a tripling in revenue (Rs 6.78 crore from Rs 1.75 crore), says the report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment and Forests.

But, at the same time, the tiger reserve, one of India’s 41 ‘Project Tiger’ reserves, needs to be protected from the environmental impact of developmental projects, adds the report. The National Green Tribunal too had recently asked the Public Works Department to submit a report on road expansion projects in the reserve’s eco-sensitive zone.

The Chandrapur-Mul-Gadchiroli road (128 km) and Nagpur-Umred-Nagbhid-Bramhapuri road (137 km) are being upgraded from two-lane roads to four-lane roads and environmentalists fear that this may affect the movement of animals across corridors. So, the panel has asked the environment ministry to ensure that animal movement is not affected.

Also, in August 2017, the central government had given a go-ahead for diversion of 1,100 hectares of land in critical tiger corridor connecting three tiger reserves in Maharashtra, Telangana and Chhattisgarh for the construction of an irrigation project.  But, the standing committee report says the tiger corridor between Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve and Bramhapuri Forest Division that connects Satpuda-Maikal Landscape may be cut-off due to this.

Two establishments near the reserve have also worried the committee. It recommends that environmental assessment of the coal mines of Western Coalfields Ltd and Chandrapur Thermal Power Station, located near the southern border of the reserve, be carried out soon and remedial measures be taken.

The coal mines have received environmental clearance for their project’s phase-2. This project is meant to provide coal to the Chandrapur Thermal Power Station.

The panel has also suggested that the environment ministry should carry out environmental assessment of other wildlife sanctuaries and parks affected by such industries and power plants.

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