ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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People, Wildlife and Wildlife Protection Act

People, Wildlife and Wildlife Protection Act

People, Wildlife and Wildlife Protection Act Nalin Ranjan Jena IT seems A K Jha ('Wildlife and Indigenous People', EPW, August 13) is either not aware of the complexity of the problem created by Protected Areas (PA) for the people living in and around national parks and sanctuaries or hesitates to address the real issues. This is quite clear when at the outset he advances population explosion as the cause of degradation of such PAs. This argument is an obsolete one which has already been discarded by even elitist conservationists. There are a variety of other factors such as rampant urbanisation, the growing charge of industrial and commercial interests on PAs, the lastremaining patches of forests, failure of development programme? to take the complex realities into consideration, exploitation of wildlife, timber and other fo est produce in connivance with politicians and forest bureaucracy, etc. Another factor which is on alarming increase is denoti- fication of PAs by the government for non- forest use. For example, the Balukhand and Bhitarakanika sanctuaries in Orissa and Melghat inMaharashtra are examples facing these threats. All these factors were pointed out and highlighted by the voluntary organisations front nine states in the national workshop on 'Declining Access to and Control over Natural Resources in National Parks and Sanctuaries1 organised by the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), Delhi, in collaboration with Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK), Dehradun. RLEK is spearheading a movement along with the Gujjars against Rajaji National Park. These voluntary organisations directly working among the deprived people living in and around PAs exposed the consequences of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 with the 1991 amendments (WPA). PRIA has also been working on these issues since long and has gathered considerable field experience in this regard.

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