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Thread: Girinar Ropeway project Vs Vultures

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    Default Girinar Ropeway project Vs Vultures

    NEW DELHI: The Centre has put on hold the proposed ropeway to Gujarat's religious shrine atop Mount Girnar citing threat to the nesting of

    endangered vultures in the region.

    The Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife chaired by union environment minister Jairam Ramesh at a recent meeting has asked a team of conservationists to visit the site and study the impact of the proposed project before deciding its fate.

    "Girnar wildlife sanctuary is the only known colony of long-billed vultures in Gujarat. If the ropeway passes through the trees housing vulture nests, it will be a disaster," Asad Rehmani, a prominent conservationist from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and committee member, said.

    He said 121 vultures (long-billed and white-beaked species vultures) were counted in the region in 2005 which have declined to 79, according to the 2007 census.

    He said the environment impact assessment report submitted by a private firm Usha Breco Ltd seeking to construct the ropeway was not factually correct with particular reference to faunal diversity of the area.

    The committee also observed the project seeking diversion of around seven hectares of Girnar forestland was yet to get environmental clearance.

    However, the Gujarat Wildlife Department, strongly arguing in favour of the project, said it would only ease the pressure on the wildlife created by visiting devotees who currently pass through the jungle to reach the holy shrine atop Girnar.
    Link -Ropeway project to temple put on hold to "save" vultures - The Times of India
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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    I am happy that this muddle headed idea has been put on hold. I hope that this project is shelved.

    It is a fact that mushrooming of religious places has led to the destruction of lot of our wilderness places. The amount of disturbance created by the hordes of devotes, pollution, and the destruction of the wildlierness places is enormous. With pilgrims follow the traders and slowly townships come up. The inflow of pilgrims to our wilderness places should be regulated.

    In this case, it is important for the rope way project to be shelved as the disturbance would have had an adverse impact on the long billed vultures.

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

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    Default Girnar Ropeway: Jairam Ramesh decides to sacrifice the vultures

    One more battle lost.

    The Hon’ble Minister for Environment & Forests have given yet another clearance, albeit a conditional clearance, as is the norm these days. This time, the decision is to allow construction of a ropeway project in Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary endangering the Vultures. What is surprising is the manner in which he has tried to justify it. Also, the conditions make for some interesting reading. He talks of creating a "cafeteria" for vultures, so that the vultures are fed and hence wont fly and get hit by the ropeway. What is he going to achieve? Tame the vultures? Is this conservation? Is this what the MoEF stands for?

    Sharing the full text of the decision signed by Sri Jairam Ramesh.

    Sabyasachi


    Sub: Girnal Ropeway
    1. The matter of construction of a ropeway from Bhavnath Taleti to Ambaji temple in the Girnar Wildife Sanctuary in Junagarh has been under consideration of the MoE&F for over a year. At my suggestion, a technical group of the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) had visited this site on December 21-22, 2010. This two-person group advised against construction of a ropeway because it could lead to the local extinction of the “Girnari Giddh”, a critically endangered species listed in Schedule I under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. I have personally visited the site on January 27th, 2011. I have also had a detailed discussion on this project with BNHS, with the state government officials, with Dr. Divyabhanusinh Chavda and Dr. Nita Shah who conducted the site visit and have also met with local organizations and citizens in Junagarh.
    2. Before indicating my final decision, I must place on record the following facts:
    1. The ropeway project has been hanging fire since September 1995. But it is only after the declaration of the Girnar Reserve Forest as the Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary in May 2008, that Central Government approval has been necessitated. Thus, for the period between 1995 and 2008, there was no need for any central Government approval had the state government decided to go ahead with the project;
    2. The declaration of the Girnar Reserve Forest as Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary was a welcome step. This created a new habitat for the Gir lion and a population of 20-25 lions is now resident in the Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary which covers about 180 sq. kms;
    3. The Girnari Giddh population that is going to be affected by the ropeway project is between 20-25% of the population of long-billed vultures in Gujarat but less than 10% of the population of vultures in the State.
    4. Although I have received numerous representations against the ropeway on environmental grounds (primarily the anticipated adverse impacts on vulture habitats), I have seen for myself the strong reasons to build the ropeway. It would minimize man-animal conflict in the Girnar wildlife Sanctuary (a new concern) and it would also provide a convenient way of transporting thousands of pilgrims daily to the holy spots on Mount Girnar. It would also put an end to socially unacceptable modes of transportation (the dolis) that are being used presently.
    3. Appreciating the arguments can be made both for and against the ropeway project and based on consultations I have had with all stakeholders including Dr. Divyabhanusinh Chavda, Dr. Nita Shah and Dr. Asad Rehmani of the BNHS, I have decided on the following course of action:
    1. In-principle approval is being granted for the ropeway project, subject to the following six specific conditions:
    i. The Government of Gujarat will conduct a study to consider alternate alignment of the ropeway project, preferably along the Dattar/ Bhesan side with a view to ensure that it does not cut across the prime vulture habitat and minimizes disturbance to the nesting, roosting and ranging sites of long-billed vultures and other wildlife species and submit report within two months positively;
    ii. The height of the 9th and 10th tower of ropeway will be increased to avoid disturbance to the vulture nesting sites located in this area;
    iii. A camera of high resolution will be placed on the 9th tower to monitor movement of vultures and if required, movement of cabins of the ropeways will be regulated in such way as to avoid any accidental collision of vultures with the cabin of ropeway;
    iv. A cafeteria for vultures will be constructed at an appropriate location, to be decided in consultation with the experts, to provide for supplemental feed to the vultures apart from attempting to divert the movement of vultures away from the ropeway;
    v. A cess of Rs 5 per ticket or 2% of the ticket turnover revenue, whichever is higher, will be imposed. This cess amount will be given to the Gir Lion Conservation Society for conservation-related activities in and around the Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary with a focus on long-billed vultures.
    vi. A technical monitoring group of officers from Gujarat Forest Department, local voluntary organizations concerned, BNHS, WWF and experts will be set up to advise on safety protocols and to monitor the implementation of the conditions governing the clearance of the ropeway project.
    2. According to the statutory procedure, the standing committee of the NBWL, will take the final decision based on the report submitted by the Government of Gujarat.

    The link to the full text of the order is here: http://www.moef.nic.in/downloads/pub...ion/girnar.pdf

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    A recent news article shed light on the fact that the current MoEF is amongst the most business friendly ministers - having cleared over 95% of projects brought to his ministry. A more disturbing trend is the rationalization of the approval process. Though intentions were good, creating a cafeteria for the vultures is bizarre. Hoping that the ropeway would mitigate the degradation of the habitat is a bit wishful...the India development story so far has been a cancerous affair - it obliterates things in its path.

    So, what is the right solution? Would it be possible to regulate the flow of pilgrims to the holy site? Would it possible to control the buildup of the usual commercial ecosystem? Would creating a ropeway help in making the crowd movement more organized?

    The vulture though an ecologically critical bird hasn't had a large "fan following" in India. Its role as a scavenger has always attached negative connotation to it. Hence, would pilgrims - if they are sensetized - really bother about the vulture's conservation?

    The MoEF thinks the best solution is to complete the ropeway, throw in a few conditions and hope things magically work out. People will go through the land route even after the ropeway is completed. You can expect more pilgrims not less. The right solution here is complete demarcation of wildlife habitat from people. But is the minister listening?

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    Default Girnar ropeway will 'sound death knell for Gir vultures

    Some update on the news..

    Girnar ropeway will 'sound death knell for Gir vultures
    Published: Tuesday, Feb 8, 2011, 13:12 IST
    By Jumana Shah | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

    “It was expected, but it has still come as a shock. There is no hope now for the 'Girnari Giddh' species; it will be extinct very soon," said, a wildlife conservationist Dinesh Goswami who was part of the team that had undertaken the vulture census in Girnar in 2010. He was referring to the ministry of environment and forests' green signal for the construction of ropeway in the Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Junagadh, the only home to Asiatic lions.
    The sentiment angrily voiced by the activist of Kodinar-based

    Prakruti Nature Club pretty much reflects the sentiment shared by most of the vulture conservationists across the board, including member of National Board for Wildlife in India (NBWLI), Divyabhanusinh Chavda. He was a part of the two-member committee who had visited the site last December.

    In the report submitted by him, it had been categorically stated that the project has a possibility of leading to the local extinction of the 'Girnari Giddh,' a critically endangered species listed in Schedule I under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The report had advised against the construction of a ropeway.

    Moreover, sources have indicated that the six conditions sought in principle approval are also not likely to be fulfilled. "This is the most viable route; the plan had been submitted after intense research. Realignment is not likely," the source said.

    This apart, the political tug-of-war over claiming the credit over the sanctioning of the project is also intriguing. When Ramesh was here last month, Congress president Siddharth Patel had met him to make a presentation declaring Congress's support to the project. On Monday, as soon as news of the project clearance trickled in, Patel rushed to Delhi to claim credit.

    "Local BJP and Congress politicians have cornered a lot of land around the hill. The land prices in the area have been rising since the last few months, and on Monday itself, it was heard that the prices skyrocketed anew," a source said.

    Minstry ofenvironment and forests conditions for ropeway approval

    • State government to conduct a study to consider alternate alignment of the ropeway project, preferably along the Dattar/Bhesan side. To submit a positive report within 2 months
    • The 9th and 10th tower’s height of ropeway will be raised to avoid disturbance to nesting sites
    • A camera of high resolution will be placed on the 9th tower to monitor movement of vulture
    • A cafeteria for vultures will be constructed at an appropriate location which will be decided in consultation with experts
    • A cess of Rs5 per ticket or 2% of the ticket turnover revenue to be imposed and revenue generated from this will be handed over to the Gir Lion Conservation Society.
    • Forest department, experts from BNHS, WWF and other local voluntary organisations will constitute a technical monitoring group to advise on safety protocols.


    Link - Girnar ropeway will 'sound death knell for Gir vultures’ - India - DNA
    Regards,
    Mrudul Godbole

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    Default Minister says the practice of "Doli" has to stop, so vultures were sacrificed

    In a recent meeting the Minister for MoEF Shri Jairam Ramesh justified his approval for the Girnar Ropeway project. Sharing the article that was published in MSN.
    Sabyasachi

    Ramesh launches consortium to save vultures
    New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today launched "Saving Asia''s Vultures from Extinction" (SAVE) Consortium at a function here.

    The SAVE Consortium has been launched as a group of multi-national vulture experts in order to coordinate the work of the second phase of vulture conservation and to meet the myriad challenges.

    SAVE will be instrumental in advocacy, campaigning and fund-raising for the cause.
    Addressing the gathering, Ramesh justified his decision to give in principle clearance for a ropeway project from the foothills of Mount Girnar to Ambaji Temple in Girnar wildlife sanctuary, famous for its lions and vultures.

    Admitting that he had come under attack from the environmentalists who apprehended its adverse impact on the habitat of endangered vultures, the minister said the project was cleared to end an age-old inhuman practice in the shrine where doli bearers ferry "merchants" from Mumbai and Ahmedabad up the hill.
    Terming it as "serious inhuman issue," he said this mode of transportation to the holy hills of Jains and Hindus was "unacceptable" in this century.

    On the occasion, Prof Ian Newton, Chairman, SAVE Consortium, said, "In terms of
    urgency this is probably the greatest bird conservation problem in the world. Three vulture species have reduced by over 99 per cent within just 15 years and still declining."

    "It is the first time that a veterinary drug has been implicated in a major conservation problem and we need to take it seriously. It involves not just the loss of three species, but also a huge environmental hygiene problem," he said.

    Bombay Natural History Society director Dr Asad R Rahmani said that without removing the killer-drug diclofenac, it will be difficult to recover the vulture population.
    He urged the government to see that veterinary use of diclofenac is totally prohibited all over India.

    The source article can be found here: Ramesh launches consortium to save vultures - Â*National News – News – MSN India

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