Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Preparations are in the final stages for developing a ‘City Forest’ with the help of Green India Mission in the Chandanpura area, on the outskirts of the state capital. This area is known as a ‘tiger movement area’.
Union forest minister Prakash Javadekar, while releasing a report earlier, had mentioned that Bhopal was the only state capital in India—and, probably, the world—where more than 18 tigers moved around in the vicinity of the city.
Environmentalists and nature-lovers are now opposing the proposal of the forest department to develop a ‘City Forest’ in that area. “This is completely against the orders passed by the National Green Tribunal. The NGT has declared it as a reserve forest that restricts all sorts of constructions that could lead to an increase in human intervention in the area that includes Mendora and Chandanpura villages,” said environmentalist Rashid Noor.
Acting as a safety cushion
On the other hand, coordinator of the project under Green India Mission K Raman said it had nothing to do with the area marked as ‘movement area’ for tigers. “Tiger movement area is marked by a fence, while the ‘City Forest’ area is in a different place. It’s close to it and will rather act as a safety cushion for the tiger,” said Raman.
Explaining about the concept of a ‘City Forest’, Raman said that it was exclusively meant to preserve the vanishing forests near the urban areas. “Plantation is done and forests are preserved. It also gives access to people to frequent that area,” said Raman.
Sources said that a new road had been planned to connect the city to the newly developing area around the ‘City Forest’.
However, a senior official from the forest department said that the decision had not been finalised yet. “It’ll be finalised after the chief minister’s approval,” said the officer.
Posing a danger for big cats
‘More than 18 tigers have been moving around in this region for several decades. Instead of restricting public movements and constructions in this area, the forest department is increasing the activities. If such activities increase the movement of people in the area, it’ll pose a danger for the tigers. Several tigers have also bred in the locality’
— Environmentalist Rashid Noor