Red flag on tiger turf

Activist flays black-top road plan

By A.S.R.P. Mukesh in Ranchi
  • Published 26.02.18

Ranchi: A member of the state steering committee on Palamau Tiger Reserve (PTR) and wildlife expert D.S. Srivastava has shot a letter to the chief secretary's office criticising the government's move to build four black-top roads in critical core areas of the 1,124sqkm tiger turf.

The letter, written on Friday, states that such an "unmindful plan" will destroy the habitat. Srivastava also wanted to know whether the state government took permission from the Supreme Court, which is monitoring all tiger sanctuaries, National Board for Wildlife and National Tiger Conservation Authority before mooting such a plan.

Referring to a decision taken at the February 7 cabinet meeting in Netarhat, Srivastava said four black top forest roads - Baresadnr-Latoo (13.88km), Labhar-Gangtar (18.41km), Burha-Madgari (15km) and Pareswar-Turer (28km) - would sound the death knell for the sanctuary.

"All these are critical core areas of the tiger reserve. Black-top roads will lead to an increase in traffic and uncontrolled access of vehicles to the areas. The entire concept of core area for a tiger sanctuary will be defeated," he said.

Srivastava said traffic would also affect jumbo corridors in PTR, which was home to 200 elephants, besides leading to a rise in poaching threats and timber thefts.

"If there is requirement for a motorable road, the government should repair the existing pucca road, but black-topping is a complete no-no," Srivastava said.

State forest department sources said chief secretary Rajbala Verma held a video-conferencing with officials a few ago to ensure that hurdles to laying black-top roads were cleared by February 28, the day she is set to retire.

"Only activists and wildlife experts can stop this through public interest litigations," a forest official in Ranchi said.