Uttarakhand forest department wakes up to ground realities

Dehradun : Following the widespread damage being caused by wild elephants in this small mountain state and the number of people who have been tramples and the roads coming to a stop with pachyderms blocking the highways, the Uttarakhand forest department has finally woken up to the reality of ensuring that the forest corridors are not allotted for developmental and other purposes.

The army wants to create a large structure near the Nepal border, for which it had approached the centre for about 700 acres of land bordering the forests in Haldwani district of Uttarakhand.

However, the forest department told the centre in clear words that the tract is precious saal forest that is declining in the state and is also used by the pachyderms as a corridor for migration purposes.

The army authorities have now asked for another 700 acre tract in Chini block, which is also part of the forest, but the state orest department has also refused to part with this stretch of land on the plea that it is very sensitive as far as the flora and fauna of the region is considered.

It has been further claimed that should this land be given it will have a negative impact on the biosphere of the region.

However, wild life enthusiasts feel that the state forest authorities are waking up to the issue after immense damage has already been done to the forests of the state.

Huge developmental projects like the IPPL at Rishikesh, the army structures and ranges at Raiwala, the irrigation canals in and around Hardwar and industrial plots in Kotdwara and Hardwar to name a few, have already decimated most of the corridors that the wildlife used for migration.

Meanwhile the forest authorities claim that as Uttarakhand was earlier a part of Uttar Pradesh, most of the decision to allot forest land for development and other purposes was taken by the Uttar Pradesh government.

There was hardly any say of the forest department officials of the region, who were mere clogs in the wheel of the forest department of the time and valuable forest cover was given up without an iota of thought for the flora and fauna of the region, they contended.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish had worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.

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2 Comments

  1. says: Lt Gen Dr Mohan Bhandari

    Now here is a dichotomy.Preservation of the flora & fauna in the states & the maintenance of National Interests to secure the strategic border belts in perspective right from J & K till the North East-both these paramount issues need to be factored in to maintain a balance.It is true that some areas selected by the Army may impact upon the habitat of elephants & overall flora & fauna.Good that the Forest Department is at least talking like this.Over the years, I have seen their disinterested ,unprofessional & dismal approach to preserve Flora & Fauna.There is not much change today either !There is no point blaming Uttar Pradesh Government.The Uttarakhand office working culture is inherited from the predecessor.Now talking of Saal trees, see what devastation has been done by the Forest Department all over Uttarakhand. See areas adjoining the Corbett Park where nothing but resorts are mushrooming with astonishing regularity.There are Mafias who indiscriminately cut these trees in open in connivance with the so called ‘protectors’ .The Forest adjacent to Govt. Medical College, Haldwani is a case in point.The entire forest has become a thorough fare ,& in whatever has been left ,big walls have been created by Forest Department. Huge fellings of Shishum, Saal & Teak over the years have made this once beautiful breathing space of Haldwani into a big lavatory for all & sundry.So, please do not shed crocodile tears my friends of the Forest Department.Have a strategic vision & perspective to save whatever is left in Uttarakhand.Of course, there is no compromise on National Security.

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