Chhattisgarh’s wildlife sanctuary areas on the decline
Durg (Chhattisgarh): During the last one decade, there has been a decline of 41 per cent area of wildlife sanctuaries in Chhattisgarh indicating the adverse effect of urbanisation and rapid population explosion.
According to the latest data of Statistical Yearbook India of Union Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, during 2006, Chhattisgarh had 10 wildlife sanctuaries with an area covering 6,339 square kilometers which accounted for 16 per cent of total area of the state with 1,35,194 square kilometers. But 8 years later, the state has 11 wildlife sanctuaries with an area covering 3,760 square kilometers which accounted for only 9 per cent area.
During this period, though there has been rise of one sanctuary but in terms of forest area, it saw a dip of 2,579 square kilometers, a decline of 41 per cent. Due to construction work, roads and industries as well as mines, wildlife sanctuaries of the state have been affected to a large extent and because of it now Chhattisgarh is losing its shine of having a rich forest area.
At present Chhattisgarh has 11 wildlife sanctuaries and they are Achanakmar (Bilaspur), Badalkhol (Jashpur), Bhairamgarh (Dantewada), Gomarda (Raigarh), Barnawapara and Udanti (Raipur), Pameda (Dantewada), Semarsot and Tamor Pingala (Sarguja), Sitanadi (Dhamtari), Virgin Kurschel Valleys (Bastar) and Bhoramdev (Kawardha). Besides, the state has three national parks Indravati (Dantewada), Kanger Ghati (Bastar) and Guru Ghasidas (Sarguja/Koriya).
Amongst all these wildlife sanctuaries, Achanakmar of Bilaspur district saw a decline of over 100 square kilometers forest cover followed by Bhoramdev in Kawardha district with a dip of over 85 square kilometers. The other forest areas of the state have also recorded a sharp decline in terms of area.
“It is really a matter of concern that forest areas of the state are declining with each passing year. The reduction of over 2,579 square kilometers areas in only 11 wildlife sanctuaries is an alarm bell to all including state government, forest department and animal as well as environmentalists,” said RS Mishra, a retired Indian Forest Officer.
The dip of areas in wildlife sanctuaries also plays an important role in the decline of rare species of animals and birds and as a result Chhattisgarh Forest Department is facing lot of hardships in breeding of state animal: Wild Water Buffalo and Common Hill Myna.
“We are doing all our efforts in preservation of wildlife sanctuaries and not to allow construction near them. So it is really doubtful that Chhattisgarh recorded a dip in forest area,” stated one senior forest officer of Chhattisgarh.