New Delhi: A proposal to develop a safari park in Haryana’s Aravalli has alarmed environmentalists as it involves the construction of a fence around 10,000 acres that will fragment wildlife habitats, and concrete structures. And to build cages that can harm the delicate ecology of the mountain range.
The Haryana government has not yet applied for environment or forestry clearance from the central government, but, based on the guidelines of the Union Ministry of Environment dated June 8, 2022, such a project as an “afforestation” activity. Can be classified as not requiring forestation. Approval from the Centre
The proposal to develop the Aravali Safari Park in Noh and Gurugram districts was first mooted last May, but activists reiterated their concerns to the state and central governments this week.
Instead of protecting the Aravalli ecosystem, the main objective of building the world’s largest zoo, safari and amusement park appears to be to generate revenue, a group of environmentalists under the umbrella of Save Aravalli Citizens Movement has said.
“The Aravali Zoo Safari Project in its current incarnation should be scrapped,” said experts including water conservationist and Magsaysay awardee Rajinder Singh, environmentalist Ghazala Shahabuddin, conservationist and National Board for Wildlife. Former member Prerna Bandra, conservation biologist Neha Sinha, and ecologists Piya Sethi and Meera Chandran.
His criticism of the project was sent to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav on January 16 by the Aroli Bachao Citizens Movement.
The Haryana Tourism Corporation had on May 16 last year called for expressions of interest for an international design competition for the Aravali Safari Park.
No safari park proposal for Haryana has come to us and we have not approved it. It will be considered forest only if it follows the guidelines,” said an environment ministry official on condition of anonymity.
“Zoos and safari projects can be considered forestry activities, but we are very clear in our guidelines as to what such a safari would look like,” he said. “At least 70% of the total area of a zoo or safari set up on forest land shall be native or natural forest cover. In no case shall more than 5% of the land be used for construction of office, parking and other facilities. will go
According to the Tourist Corporation document, Haryana aims to increase the number of tourists significantly, and the development of Zoo Safari will help in this. It also stated that it aims to “conserve the biodiversity of the Aravalli and to preserve the natural heritage of the region, including flora and fauna, besides providing a wide range of environmental services and goods.” Is.”
However, environmentalists have said that the project is likely to harm the ecology and hydrology of the Aravalli range as its main objective will be to increase the number of tourists.
“There is a flaw in taking up a project designed with the primary objective of generating maximum revenue in an eco-sensitive region like the Aravalis,” he said.
They recommended that the primary objective of any intervention in the ecologically sensitive Aravalli should be “conservation and restoration of the Aravalli”, with any income-generating activities limited by the guidelines of national parks and protected forest reserves. are recommended.
He said in his criticism that dividing any contiguous area of Aravali forests by fencing would be disastrous for local wildlife, especially large mammals like leopards, nilgans and hyenas.
The Haryana government did not respond to requests for comment on these concerns.