NEW DELHI: In an ironical development, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) — the apex body which approves projects keeping in view legal sanctity of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks — during ‘wildlife week’ last month, recommended de-notification and diversion of more than 1,000 sq km of ‘protected areas’ and allowed activities which could easily be located outside such green zones.
‘Wildlife week’ is celebrated every year between October 2 and 8 to promote conservation efforts of flora and fauna in the country.
The board’s decision on de-notification and diversion within ‘protected areas’ , taken in the meeting of its standing committee on October 5, involved Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh, Mukundra National Park in Rajasthan and Bahu Conservation Reserve in Jammu district. An analysis by New Delhi-based think-tank Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment showed that the move was among the single largest de-notification of ‘protected areas’ in the country in recent times.
‘De-notified’ areas cannot be protected with legally defined dos and don’ts like ‘notified’ areas and, thus, turn out to be vulnerable for wildlife.
The board, in order to rationalise the boundary of Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary, approved exclusion of nearly 47% of its area (978 sq km) from its originally notified 2,073 sq km area.