Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN | May 31, 2013, 12.34

NAGPUR: Many politicians and project proponents see buffer zones around tiger reserves as an obstacle to development but clearance for the Baglinga minor irrigation project in Melghat by the National Board for Wild Life (NBWL) shows that genuine development is possible in such zones

The proposal involves construction in compartment number 26 of East Melghat division, within the buffer of Melghat Tiger Reserve (MTR). The project requires 14.75 hectare of forest involving 709 trees. The project location is 8.5 km from MTR.

Two members of NBWL Kishor Rithe and Asad Rahmani were previously asked to do a site inspection and submit a report to the board. The report was discussed by the NBWL which recommended clearance of the project on certain conditions.

The Baglinga example proves that those lobbying to stall buffer zones around tiger reserves are wrong. The conditions to clear the project are very reasonable and approved by the chief wildlife warden of Maharashtra.

"It is really painful when politicians mislead people by saying that people cannot even construct a house in the buffer of any tiger reserve, specially when the wildlife department has clarified several times that this is not true." said Kishor Rithe, member of NBWL, who added that there are often vested interest behind such deception by political leaders. Basically, buffer zones provide 'cushions' to core areas and address the genuine developmental requirements of the local communities living there, Rithe stated.

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