Press on Environment and Wildlife
Erring revenue officials endanger forest land (Issue of the week, November Week 2 (2005)) This report published in The Tribune addresses ground level problems in conservation, faced in India.
While residents of Saroa Panchayat of Chachoit Subdivision, Mandi, have turned Kajuidi into a thick forest area over a period of three decades, some revenue officials, flouting the orders of their superiors, are trying to hand over these forests to some influential persons.
The members of village forest development committee, Kajuidi, urged the Chief Minister, Mr Virbhadra Singh, to initiate action against these erring officials.
The problem started more than three decades ago. Saroa residents had then formed a committee to raise and protect forest cover at Kajuidi in Pandoh Range of Nachan forest division in the year 1972.
They raised plantations of chil and Deodar there, which remained under the control of the committee.
But, in the year 1974, out of the plantation area, five bighas of land were allotted to Karam Singh, hailing from Tilli, by Subdivisional Officer ( Civil), Mandi, for cultivation.
The members of village forest committee objected to the sanction of land to him in the name of ' Nautore land' and appealed to the Deputy Commissioner, Mandi, who vide his order, dated March 31, 1977, held that since the site was being used by the villagers for plantation and no possession of the land was given, some alternative site be given to Karam Singh.
But the orders of the DC was challenged before the Divisional Commissioner, Kangra, who upheld the order and observed that some suitable land be given to Karam Singh in whose favour the 'Nautore land' was awarded.
Interestingly, when case pertaining to 'Nautore land' was pending before DC, Mandi, Tehsildar Chachoit attested mutation in favour of Karam Singh on January 5, 1975, although no possession of land was given to him.
Even after two decades, the wrong revenue entries are still continuing.
With the passage of time, the site of Kajuidi developed thick forest cover with thousands of trees of deodar and chil but the orders of DC, Mandi, and Divisional Commissioner, Kangra, were never implemented.
The controversy once again surfaced when Karam Singh took the demarcation of land, which is now a forest area, and tried to take possession of land by cutting the trees But the members of forest development committee did not allow him to take possession of land.
A written complaint was filed before DC, Mandi, but no action was initiated against the guilty revenue officials.
The DFO, Nachan, also visited the spot and submitted his report to Conservator, Forest, Mandi, with the finding that thick forest consisting of deodar and chil trees was standing over the disputed land. Interestingly, the revenue officials were showing this portion as cultivated land, he noted.
New breed of rhinos to roam Assam forest (November Week 2 (2005)) The State forest and wildlife department would soon be putting into practice a plan according to which about 3000 new breed of rhinos to roam Assam forest by the year 2022.
This was disclosed by a well-placed source in the department adding that this was expected through the departments’ translocation of the rhinoceros project.
Talking to northeasttribune.com, the official added that the department is planning to trans-locate the rhinos of the Pobitora Wildlife sanctuary and the Kaziranga National Park to some new reserve forests and wildlife sanctuaries like Manas, Burha Chapori, Laukhowa and the Dibru Saikhowa.
This decision came in the wake of increasing rhino population in the Kaziranga and Pobitora whereas the size of the sanctuaries has been decreasing due to certain factors like encroachment.
The official also added that the annual flood problem in the two sanctuaries had also compelled the departments to think in this line. “In the first phase we would select 20 rhinos each from Kaziranga and Pobitora,”added the source.
“It is going to help the animals to survive in a better way and would also help us in procuring new breeds as the rhinos of Kaziranga would met with the rhinos of Pobitora,” the source said and added that by this way the department is planning to have some better species of rhinos by 2022.
“We hope that the mating between the two rhinos, i.e., the rhinos of Kaziranga and the Pobitora would help in some kind of genetic development in the new generation of rhinos,” continued the source.

A task force along with two groups namely, security assessment group and habitat assessment group has been constituted to ensure safety of the animals in the new lands and to assess the habitat conditions of the new places.
It can be mentioned that the International Rhino Foundation in association with the World Wild Federation (WWF) would also fund the project. The task is slated to have its next round of meeting on November 13 next.
JAPAN GOES WHALING, IWC COMMISSIONERS SIGN PROTEST DECLARATION (November Week 2 (2005)) BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, November 8, 2005 (ENS) - Thirteen Latin and Southern Hemisphere countries plus Spain signed a declaration today condemning so-called scientific whaling in response to Japan and and other countries that ignore the worldwide moratorium on the killing of whales established by the International Whaling Commission. The declaration, signed by six IWC commissioners and other government representatives, comes as six ships of the Japanese whaling fleet sailed for the Southern Ocean.
WETLANDS AWARDS HONOR PIONEERS IN AUSTRALIA, CHINA, IRAN, JAPAN (November Week 2 (2005)) KAMPALA, Uganda, November 8, 2005 (ENS) - The world's wetlands are conserved under an international treaty signed 34 years ago in Ramsar, Iran and known as the Ramsar Convention. Representatives of the 147 countries that have signed on to the treaty opened their ninth triennial meeting today in Kampala by presenting awards to individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to wetland and water resources conservation.
Wildlife Crime Bureau (November Week 2 (2005)) A Wildlife Crime Bureau, a Central investigative agency on the lines of the Narcotics Control Bureau, would be set up within the next three months to check poaching of endangered animals in sanctuaries and forests, said the Union Minister for Environment and Forests, A. Raja.
The bureau is being set up based on the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force Report, constituted by the Centre to examine reports of drastic fall in the number of tigers in sanctuaries.

An Indian Forest Service officer of the rank of Director General would head the bureau, which would have regional offices across the country.
The agency would be vested with adequate powers to prosecute offenders, Mr. Raja said addressing a press conference in Tiruchi. Mr. Raja also stated that the Ministry has proposed to promote 18 Project Tiger Reserves in the country, including one at Anamalais in Tamil Nadu.

The Minister said the Centre had planned to increase the country's forest cover to 25 per cent from the current 23.5 per cent by 2012. The Centre has earmarked Rs.1,200 crores for the National Afforestation Programmes during the X Plan period.
Bird flu alert in Kaziranga (November Week 2 (2005)) Wildlife wardens at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, alerted its rangers and veterinarians to monitor signs of avian flu in migratory birds flocking to the sanctuary, reports The Pioneer.
The 430 sq km sanctuary, 220 kilometers east of Guwahati, the home to the one-horned rhinoceros is also known for sheltering some 300 endangered bird species, including a hundred different types of migratory birds.
There has been no reported case of bird flu in India, but the spread of the virus by migratory birds to Europe from Asia has led to concern among wildlife officials here with Kaziranga beginning to receive flocks of birds from China's Tibet region and Siberia.
"There is no need to panic but we do not want to take any chances and hence, alerted our personnel to keep a strict vigil and monitor any abnormality in migratory birds or their carcasses found inside the sanctuary," Kaziranga Park warden NK Vasu said.
Wildlife wardens at the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, alerted its rangers and veterinarians to monitor signs of avian flu in migratory birds flocking to the sanctuary, reports The Pioneer.
The 430 sq km sanctuary, 220 kilometers east of Guwahati, the home to the one-horned rhinoceros is also known for sheltering some 300 endangered bird species, including a hundred different types of migratory birds.
There has been no reported case of bird flu in India, but the spread of the virus by migratory birds to Europe from Asia has led to concern among wildlife officials here with Kaziranga beginning to receive flocks of birds from China's Tibet region and Siberia.
"There is no need to panic but we do not want to take any chances and hence, alerted our personnel to keep a strict vigil and monitor any abnormality in migratory birds or their carcasses found inside the sanctuary," Kaziranga Park warden NK Vasu said.
Thousands of bar-headed-geese, the world's highest-altitude migrants, fly from their winter-feeding grounds of Tibet and Siberia to Kaziranga during this time of the year. Other migratory birds to Kaziranga include the graylag geese, ruddy shelduck, gadwall, falcated duck, and the red-crested pochard.

A veterinarian and a research officer of the Kaziranga National Park had returned after completing a weeklong training on dealing with avian flu from experts in Kolkata.
"The field veterinarian and the research officer are now sharing their expertise among the forest rangers and guards, so that we could take necessary precautionary measures in the event of the bird flu hitting the park," the warden said.
"If required, we will take blood samples of migratory birds to rule out avian flu." Fear of spread of bird flu deepened after China, earlier this week, reported another outbreak in the poultry.
"We need to be careful, as some of the migratory birds that are arriving here, are from China's Tibet region. Also, scientists believe that birds escaping the harsh northern winter are helping spread the virus," another park official said.
There has been a spate of fresh cases in Asia and on the western edge of Europe ahead of the winter, when experts say the deadly H5N1 strain thrives best.
"We need to be watchful because the virus can mutate and is also of particular concern for human health as well," Vasu said.
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