Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Biodiversity cannot fuel growth

One week ago while biodiversity day celebrated, we can clearly see that there are bigger issues in India. We have large biologically diverse zones or forest lands, but human needs somehow have eclipsed the beauty of the forests. These poor people live by collecting honey from forests; gathering berries and fruits and hunting little creatures like rabbits or fowls or by fishing. They have been driven away as they had no lands of their own ; and they live in the edge of civilisation under extreme poverty. As per the eleventh FiveYear Plan(in 2007-8) Rupees 600 crores were allocated; to be given to families living in the forest areas near the tiger reserves so that they can move away. But all that was given has been distributed to the people but there are still more families without any compensation. National Tiger Conservation Authority will provide more money by 'Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planned Authority' There are still 178000 families living in the tiger reserves and other protective areas. They pose threats to wildlife as there is always conflict zone where animals enter human settlements and harm people. Six hundred and fifty persons were killed and 17000 were injured by wild animals between 2002 and 2012. But only 100 animals were killed by man during the same period 2002 to 2012 in the same regions. So it is people who are getting hurt more in these conflict zones. Although government promises to give compensation of  Rupees10 lakhs for each family which would move out of the forest area, when will it materialise? There are 41 tiger reserves which are protected. There are no lands protected or reserved for man--Indians. Is protecting biodiversity snatching away from the vulnerable populations their right to livelihoods? Yes. Animals like tiger belong to protected(endangered) species list. But man is not a member of a protected species list?Biodiversity can be kept in zoos and let human have the right to exist. Forest land must be protected as rains come because of dense trees. Human settlements must not remove the forest cover smaller settlements with  small clusters of houses can exist inside forest land.Supreme court has not given the right to relocate people; people have right to exist. Cost of maintaining biodiversity is too high for India and Indians.Poverty is the overwhelming issue and protecting biodiversity seems secondary.

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