Concerns Over Aravali Safari Park
Feb 04, 2023
Concerns Over Aravali Safari Park
Q. Why is this in news?
A. Recently, some Environmental Activists have raised concerns over the 10,000-acre Aravali safari park Project proposed in Haryana.
What are the Key Points of Safari Park?
- This project will be the largest such project in the world. Currently the largest curated safari park outside Africa is in Sharjah, which opened in February 2022, with an area of about two thousand acres.
- It aims to boost tourism and employment opportunities for the local people.
Q. What are the Concerns?
- The Aravalli safari project is being conceived and designed as a zoo safari and not a natural jungle safari to see native Aravalli wildlife in their natural habitat.
- Conservation of the Aravallis does not even get a mention in the aims of the project mentioned in the Proposition.
- Vehicular traffic and construction in the area, the proposed safari park will also disturb the aquifers under the Aravalli hills that are critical reserves for the water-starved districts.
- These aquifers are interconnected and any disturbance or alterations in the pattern can significantly alter the groundwater table.
- The group has especially objected to the ‘underwater zone’ envisioned in the park since the site is a “water-scarce region”.
- In Nuh district, the groundwater table is already below 1,000 feet at many places; the tube wells, borewells and ponds are running dry; Gurugram district has many areas in the ‘red zone’.
- The location falls under the category of ‘forest’, according to many orders by the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal, and is protected under the Forest Conservation Act 1972. As such, cutting of trees, clearing of land, construction and real estate development is prohibited on this land.
- The group also highlighted that the construction proposed by the Haryana tourism department in May 2022 would be illegal and further damage the already damaged Aravalli ecosystem.
Q. How are Wildlife and Forests Protected in India?
- The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972:
- It provides for stringent punishment for violation of its provisions. The Act also provides for forfeiture of any equipment, vehicle or weapon that is used for committing wildlife offence(s).
- Protected Areas, viz National Parks, Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves and Community Reserves have been created in the country covering important habitats to provide better protection to wildlife, including threatened species and their habitat.
- Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB):
- WCCB coordinates with State/UTs and other enforcement agencies to gather intelligence about poaching and unlawful trade in wild animals and animal articles.
- Alerts and advisories were issued by WCCB on poaching and illegal trade of wildlife to the concerned State and Central agencies for preventive action.
- National Green Tribunal:
- It is a specialized judicial body equipped with expertise solely for the purpose of adjudicating environmental cases in the country.
- The Indian Forest Act, 1927:
- It seeks to consolidate the law relating to forests, the transit of forest produces and the duty that can be levied on timber and other forest produce.
- The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006:
- The Act provides for creating the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Tiger and Other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau.
- The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980:
- It provides a higher level of protection to the forests and to regulate diversion of forest lands for non-forestry purposes. FC Act, 1980 – Prior approval of the Central Government is essential for DE-reservation of forest lands and / or diversion of forest lands for non-forestry purposes.
- Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006:
- It has been enacted to recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation of forest land in forest-dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers, who have been residing in such forests for generations.