Non-official Members of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) write to Environment Minister on Faulty Clearance Process

The non-official members of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) have written to the Environment Minister, Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, about the faulty clearance process by the NBWL. They have said that the panel has turned into a clearing house for dodgy wildlife and forest projects. They have said that in the last meeting during Jairam Ramesh’s tenure, 59 proposals to start projects in forest areas were cleared in 2 hours. Also, 39 clearance proposals were received only two days prior to the meeting, providing no time for the members to evaluate the proposals. The members have also said that the meetings are focussed on clearing proposals and conservation issues get deferred for “next time”. The NBWL members who have signed the letter include Biswajit Mohanty from the Wildlife Society of Orissa, Asad Rahmani of the Bombay Natural History Society, T R Shankar Raman of the Nature Conservation Foundation, Bivabh Talukdar of Aranyaak, M K Ranjit Sinh, Divyabhanusinh Chavda, Brijendra Singh, Valmik Thapar, Prerna Bindra, Bittu Sehgal, Mitali Kakkar and Uma Ramakrishnan. In another letter, conservationists Praveen Bhargav, Belinda Wright and Shekar Dattatri have written asking for a more honest clearance process which ensures that forests do not get fragmented. They have said that destructive projects are allowed in pristine forest land while isolated parcels of land are identified for compensatory afforestation.

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