Mizoram opposes Dampa fencing
Guwahati, Oct. 7: Mizoram has opposed the National Board for Wildlife’s recommendation to erect fencing inside Dampa tiger reserve, as it will restrict the movement of wildlife to and from Bangladesh.
The National Board for Wildlife had asked the state forest department for its views before setting up border outposts along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Dampa tiger reserve, which would lead to 1,520 hectares being diverted.
Official sources said the issue was discussed at its wildlife board meeting in Aizawl recently.
They resolved to object to the construction of fencing and a road for patrolling along the India-Bangladesh border within a 62km stretch in the tiger reserve.
The reserve shares an international boundary with Bangladesh for around 127km in the southern part.
The department said the construction would disturb the sanctity of the lone tiger reserve of the state.
Dampa was declared a tiger reserve in 1994.
Sources said the national board would now have to reconsider the proposal.
The ministry of home affairs had planned to construct a three-line wire fencing, besides seven border outposts, and had informed the National Board for Wildlife that the road and the fencing was of utmost importance to stop the infiltration from Bangladesh.
However, the state wildlife board said there were no concrete and reliable reports of the movement of insurgents/illegal immigrants from Bangladesh through the tiger reserve.
The state board said the construction of seven border outposts with nearly 33 personnel each, will significantly undermine the security and habitat of wild animals.
Though the reserve is rich in bio-diversity, only a few studies have been conducted on the plants and animals, the management evaluation report of the reserve prepared by National Tiger Conservation Authority said.
In the meeting, BSF officials said the construction of road and border outposts outside the fence would violate international regulations.
The BSF had, in compliance with the decision of the standing committee of the national board last year, submitted a revised proposal with new alignments.
The revised requirement of land was 1,520 hectares.
It was originally estimated that the total area to be diverted from Dampa tiger reserve would be 69.26 hectares. This was later reworked.
The proposal was first submitted to the Centre in 2007 for approval under the Forest Conservation Act for the Indo-Bangladesh border fence and patrol road.
A team of experts, constituted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), has opposed the construction in the tiger reserve.
“I fully endorse the Mizoram wildlife board proposal and the border is no threat to national security,” Firoz Ahmad, a wildlife biologist with Aaranyak, said.
Ahmad was part of an expert team constituted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority that visited the reserve.