Panna Tiger Reserve is UNESCO ‘Biosphere Reserve’
Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Madhya Pradesh (MP) has been included in the global network of biosphere reserves by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). “Located in the centre of India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Panna is characterised by forests and marshy vegetation, with an abundance of rare medicinal plants as well as other non-timber forestry products, such as kattha, gum and resins. It is a critical tiger habitat area and hosts the Panna Tiger Reserve, as well as the World Heritage site of the Khajuraho Group of Monuments. The area has undergone substantial ecosystem restoration in the buffer zone. With only three urban centres and over 300 villages, agriculture is the main source of income, together with horticulture, forestry, and cultural and eco-tourism,” UNESCO wrote in its description of the national park, in a list of 25 sites that have joined its World Network of Biosphere Reserves. According to the United Nations (UN), a biosphere reserve is where the international agency tries to reconcile the differences between human activity and the preservation of biodiversity. Every year some are given the status of Biosphere reserves by UNESCO, while others are removed. Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has expressed his happiness over this development. The Panna 'National Park' was initially set up in 1981. It received the status of a tiger reserve in the early 1990s when the "Project Tiger" was started and gradually the population of tigers started increasing. The reserve managed to grow 40 tigers by the early 2000s. However, with incidents of poaching that happened in 2009, the population started to dwindle. After the forest officials faced criticism, it started taking all necessary steps to conserve the tiger population. With the help of many local and non-profit organisations, it even started tiger reintroduction programmes. As a result of the efforts taken in this direction, the reserve is now home to 54 tigers. The UNESCO's recognition has mentioned PTR as a critical tiger habitat. Further, UNESCO stated that the area has undergone substantial ecosystem restoration. Also, the main source of income in the area is agriculture is together with horticulture, forestry and cultural and eco-tourism. Spread across an area of approximately 542.67 square kilometres, the Panna National Park also houses animals such as Indian wolf, sloth, Leopard, Bear Pangolin, Indian fox, Gharial, etc. When here, tourists even get a chance to witness stone carvings from the Neolithic era. “India has 70 per cent of the world’s tigers. Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka at 524, and Uttarakhand at 442. While Chhattisgarh and Mizoram have seen a decline in the numbers, other states have recorded a positive increase,” says the report. “Such remarkable success in tiger revival has not happened anywhere else in the world,” Panna Tiger Reserve Director, KS Bhadoriya, told media.
Delhi sets example in solution to Parali burning
A week after spraying of bio decomposer solution prepared by Pusa Research Institute on the straw, 90% stubble melted. This is the new way being shown by the Delhi government for finding an easy and cheap solution to parali burning. On the use of bio decomposer technique in Delhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says: “Every year smoke from burning parali turns our air poisonous. The farmer is poor, so he is also not really able to find a solution himself. Hence, the Delhi government, along with the Pusa Institute, has taken this important step. We sprayed bio decomposer chemical on all the farms of Delhi on the 13th and when we stand here today, all straw has melted and converted into healthy fertilizer. I hope we have found a solution. Now other states, like UP, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, must follow suit.”
Indian Oil Company found drilling in ESZ
A government-owned oil exploration firm had reportedly been operating a natural gas well in India’s border state of Assam without the mandatory permissions. A panel set up by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has observed that Oil India Limited (OIL) did not carry out a biodiversity impact assessment study for the Baghjan well despite orders from the Supreme Court. The well is near the Dibru Saikhowa National Park which is home to 36 mammal and 382 bird species including a host of endangered animals. Legal action has been recommended by the panel against the firm and its officials. The Baghjan well has been in the eye of a storm following a blowout in May resulting in the uncontrolled escape of oil and gas. It caught fire on June 9 resulting in the loss of three lives besides compelling many families to relocate to safer zones. Residents near the well staged protests seeking early release of compensation and capping of the well so that they can return to their homes. Several laws mandate that oil exploration firms obtain consent before executing operations, including the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, and Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, and Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules. An inquiry by the panel revealed that OIL had not obtained the mandatory clearances for its operations. In addition, it was found that the ambient noise levels in the region adjacent to the well after the blowout were above the permissible limit. OIL has been ordered to reduce the noise level, ensure treatment of people in the vicinity of the well and make financial compensation to the affected families. The final report will be submitted by the panel to the NGT in November. OIL spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika was quoted by the media as saying that a statement would be issued after the submission of the final report.
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