Thursday, July 02, 2020

After stopping Bander, greens target airport in Chanda tiger corridor

Nagpur: After successfully blocking auction of Bander coal blocks in the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), the greens have trained their guns on greenfield airport coming up in Vihirgaon and Murti villages on Tadoba-Kawal tiger reserve corridor. The airport is in Rajura tehsil of Chandrapur district.
The Rs 30-crore project was conceived by former forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar in 2018. It needs 75.24 hectares forest land of which 47.41 hectares is reserve forest and 27.830 hectares protected forest in Central Chanda division. In all, 3,817 trees will be felled for the project. The project needs over 300 hectares land.
Chandrapur chief conservator of forests (CCF) SV Ramarao, though having recommended the project in March 2020, stated in his remarks that compartment numbers 173, 200, and 593 fell in functional tiger corridor between Tadoba and Kawal as per the Eastern Vidarbha Landscape (EVL) report on corridors by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun. The inspection report also stated that the airport site was used by tigers, leopards, sloth bears, and herbivores were also found in the area.

WII observed the site was within critical wildlife habitat and connected corridors and therefore it should not be considered for the airport. It suggested mitigation measures in case user agency Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC) goes ahead with the project.
“Currently, MADC has been asked to comment on WII recommendations on mitigation steps. MADC, which plans to give private land in Ratnagiri for compensatory afforestation, has also not submitted details about it and undertaking from the owner. We have asked the CCF to seek comments from user agency,” said forest sources.
02/07/20 Vijay Pinarkar/Times of India

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