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Analysis of Forest Clearances in India, 2021 (January-June)

Persisting upon its consistency from the previous many years, this year as well, the Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife was found to be using its discretion to allow or reject proposals, in diverting protected area land for the reasons that does not benefit the wildlife, instead detriment crucial wildlife habitats. In the first half of the year 2021 alone, the Standing Committee has approved 1,385.34 ha land diversion where 302.89 ha was from protected areas and 780.24 ha was from tiger habitats. They also allowed complete de-notification of two protected areas in Andaman and Nicobar Islands – Galathea Bay Sanctuary and Megapode Sanctuary and approved rationalizations of two sanctuaries – Salt Water Crocodile Sanctuary in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Bandh Baretha Sanctuary in Rajasthan. Despite such large-scale diversions approved every year, our international commitments towards achieving the goals under the Convention on Biological Diversity are claimed to be on track.

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