Mhadei Sanctuary to stay notified
State government has maintained its stand on the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary by ruling out the possibility of de-notifying it. However, the government has said that the proposal for rehabilitation of the people within the sanctuary is under consideration.
Forest Minister Alina Saldanha, in a written reply on the floor of the House has said that the government has no intension to de-notify the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary. However, the government has said that the proposal for rehabilitation of the people within the sanctuary is under consideration.
Government has specified that the application for modification of boundary of the sanctuary moved before Supreme Court was dismissed way back in 2004.
The Minister has replied in a question tabled by Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane, who sought to know whether government will once again commence the process for de-notifying the sanctuary, in view of the thousands of people being affected due to this notification in Sattari. Rane, in 2011, had approached High Court challenging notification of the sanctuary claiming the notification as illegal.
Further, the Minister has informed the state legislative assembly that government will consider the rehabilitation of the people within the sanctuary. “The rehabilitation of the people is under consideration subject to the need as it arises, as provided in Wildlife Protection Act 1972,” she said.
Minister informed that there are 29 villages in the Mhadei area with a total population of around 2202.
Rane in his petition before the Court has pointed out that the notification of the Sanctuary directly affects the inhabitants of about 28 remote villages in the Mhadei area. The villagers carry on agricultural activities as their only source of income.
Rane alleged that the decision to notify the sanctuary was taken without conducting any detailed study or proper survey/demarcation of the area.
The Sanctuary is spread across 208 sq kms. The Union Environment and Forest Ministry has already directed state government to prepare a proposal to declare the sanctuary as tiger reserve. It’s a long pending demand of the environmentalists. The government is however, yet to take any decision on the matter. [H]