Thackeray cub roars again to save forests

Concerned over the irreversible environmental damage that the Marki-Mangli-II Coal Block can cause, Maharashtra Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray has written to Union Minister for Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi requesting him to halt the Marki-Mangli-II Coal Block auction. Aaditya has urged the Union Minister to drop the auction of this mine as it could cause irreparable losses to the entire forest zone ecosystem and the wildlife that has been depending on it.

‘’The Marki-Mangli-II Coal Block auction threatens the wildlife in the region since it falls in the corridor of TATR-Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary. The segment where the mine block is proposed, also falls under the area of approved Tiger Conservation Plan (TCP) of Tadoba,’’ said Aaditya. ‘’About 250 hectares of the proposed mining area, which account for almost 50% of this project, is on reserve forestland in the Mukutban range of Yavatmal district. News reports suggest that while in 2015, the ministry of environment and forest & climate change (MoEF&CC) had mentioned this proposed mine to be in "inviolate areas", the 2018 communication from the MoEF&CC does not mention so, he added.

Highlighting the concerns of potential destruction of precious conservation zones, Aaditya said, "Our thriving tigers in the region will not only lose their natural habitat but would have to face massive levels of disturbances due to the mining activity and increased presence of humans in the region."

Recently, following Aaditya’s request, the Coal Ministry in July had scrapped the Bander coal blocks, near the buffer and eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), from the auction list. He said that by dropping it from the auction list, an extremely sensitive eco-zone of tigers and invaluable biodiversity has been saved from destruction.

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