Amid the row between India and China along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, the Uttarakhand State Wildlife Advisory Board on Monday gave its go-ahead to three proposals on transfer of forest land in Gangotri National Park for development of roads to make movement of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel near China border.
Gangotri National Park is a protected area.
Uttarakhand’s Principal Secretary (Forests) Anand Bardhan said proposals regarding land transfer for these roads will be sent to the National Wildlife Board next.
Officials said land will be transferred for road construction after clearance from the national Board.
Under these proposals, a total of 73.36 hectares of forest land at three different sites of Gangotri National Park will be required to be transferred for construction of separate roads, totalling 35.66 km in length.
The first of these proposed stretches is an 11.85-km road planned between Sumla and Thangla-1, a 17.60-km road from Mandi to Sangchokla road, and a third 6.21-km stretch proposed road from Tripadi to Rangmachgaad.
All these are small hamlets in the region, near the international border with China.
A release from the state government, issued on Monday, stated, “In the meeting, the Uttarakhand State Wildlife Advisory Board has agreed to send proposals to the National Wildlife Board for permission for construction of various routes in Gangotri National Park. These routes are very important for national security.”
The area where land has to be transferred for road development is in Uttarkashi district.
An agency of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) will develop the roads, it was informed.
A senior official from the state Forest Department said, “At present, ITBP and Army personnel have to walk 15 to 25 km from the starting points of these proposed road stretches to reach near the border. Once these roads are developed, distance to the border will be reduced…”
The proposal document says that road has to be developed for the ITBP personnel. A forest official said Army personals also move along the same route in that area.
Elephant count up
In the meeting, the Forest Department also informed that an elephant census, taken up between June 6 and 8, has found that there are in all 2,026 elephants in Uttarakhand.
Similar counts in 2012 had reported 1,559 elephants; 1,488 animals were found in 2015 census, and 1,839 in 2017. Since 2017, the number of elephants has increased by 10.17 percent, according to the department.
As per 2020 census, there are 304 adult male (282 tuskers and 22 Makhna) and 771 adult female elephants in Uttarakhand. The population of sub-adult (5 to 15 years) was found at 447 – 181 male and 266 female animals. The population of juveniles elephants (1 to 05 years) is 285 and suckling calves (below one year) 172.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat tweeted said that sex ratio of elephants in Uttarakhand is better than other states.
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