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National Chambal Sanctuary

 

National Chambal Sanctuary UPSC: Relevance

  • GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Chambal sanctuary: Context

  • Recently, Madhya Pradesh government has proposed to open 292 hectares for mining in five stretches on Chambal and its tributary Parvati rivers to free its forest department from devoting too much efforts in fighting illegal mining.

 

Making mining legal in Chambal: Key points

  • Sand mining has been banned in the sanctuary since 2006.
  • In December 2021, the state government had submitted a proposal to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC), where it said that opening up the five stretches would minimise the conflict with illegal miners, gain local support, and fetch revenue from royalty, one-fourth of which could be used to strengthen protection measures.
  • Moreover, the proposal also sought to make the contractors of the legal quarries responsible for checking illegal sand mining on adjacent sanctuary land four times their leased areas, failing which their leases would be terminated.
  • De-notifying 292 hectares for mining would bring 1,168 hectares under the miners’ protection.
  • Opening a legal window to meet local requirements should minimise the pressure of illegal mining.

 

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Mining in Chambal: Why needed?

  • Over 4 lakh locals directly depended on various resources of the sanctuary.
  • They farm along the river, extract river water for irrigation, practice sustenance and commercial fishing, and quarry sand — activities that can destroy the natural nesting grounds of gharial, mugger, and turtles.
  • Since illegal mining has become a major commercial activity in the area, rights of the people while ensuring conservation of biodiversity was the “responsibility of the government” under the policies of the Centre.
  • The state government opined that the proposed stretches were already disturbed by mining and no longer used for mating, breeding or basking by gharials, muggers, dolphins, turtles or any migratory bird species.

 

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About National Chambal Sanctuary

  • National Chambal Sanctuary (NCS) or the National Chambal Gharial Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across three states—Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
  • After rampant poaching and fishing almost wiped out the Gharial population from the country in the 70’s, captive breeding and reintroduction programme was started. Chambal was chosen as one of the main areas for reintroduction the species back in to the wild.
  • It was set up in 1979 as a riverine sanctuary along an approximately 425 km length of the Chambal River.
  • Chambal supports the largest population of Gharials in the wild.
  • Also, Chambal supports 8 rare turtle species out of the 26 found in the country.
  • The National Chambal Sanctuary is listed as an important bird area (IBA) IN122 and is a proposed Ramsar site.

 

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