Karnataka

Greens slam approval for project survey in Sharavathi sanctuary

In the wake of the COVID-19 situation, the permission granted for a survey and geo-technical investigation for the proposed Sharavathi Underground Pumped Storage Project, in the limits of Sharavathi Valley Lion-Tailed Macaque (LTM) Sanctuary, has drawn flak from environmentalists.

The 57th meeting of the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife on April 7 approved the proposal by Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. (KPCL) seeking permission for the survey. Following this, the Chief Wildlife Warden of Karnataka gave the nod.

Akhilesh Chipli, environmentalist, told The Hindu that in the wake of reports that a tiger was infected with COVID-19, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had written to Chief Wildlife Wardens of all States and Union Territories on April 6 directing them to take action to reduce human-wildlife interface and restrict the movement of people in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

Referring to the drilling work at the sanctuary, under the aegis of KPCL for the underground pumped storage project, Mr. Chipli said a large number of workers from outside had been deployed for the work.

“To step up efforts to conserve the Lion Tailed Macaque, the sanctuary was recently renamed Sharavathi Valley LTM Sanctuary and its boundaries were redefined. The sanctuary also hosts Myristica swamps, unique freshwater swamp forests that comprise perennial streams and flora networks home to wide range of species of reptiles, birds and amphibians. At the time when the focus is on preventing the transmission of virus from humans to wildlife, the Department of Forest and Wildlife has given permission for entry of labourers with machinery to the sanctuary limits,” he said.

Cautioning that human movement in the sanctuary limits now may prove disastrous, Mr. Chipli demanded that the department immediately withdraw the permission. He also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Conservator of Forest of Sagar.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 11:51:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/greens-slam-approval-for-project-survey-in-sharavathi-sanctuary/article31689968.ece

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