A proposed elephant reserve in Chhattisgarh and its reduced area

Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

The proposed Lemru Elephant Reserve in Chhattisgarh has been in the pipeline for 20 years. However, the reserve has become the subject of yet another controversy.

About Lemru Elephant Reserve:
  • Lemru Elephant Reserve was approved by Chhattisgarh Government in 2005 and got central approval in 2007.
  • Lemru is one of the two elephant reserves being planned to prevent human-elephant conflict and to provide a permanent habitat for the elephants.
    • The other is the Badalkhol Tamorpingla Elephant Reserve, which was approved by the Chhattisgarh Government in 2011. Tamorpingla wildlife sanctuary already exists in the state, but no work on this elephant reserve has begun yet.
What is the issue?
  • Chhattisgarh Government is planning to decrease the area of the proposed reserve from 1,995 sq km to 450 sq km.
  • This is because the reserve is part of the Hasdeo Aranya forests, a very diverse biozone that is also rich in coal deposits.
  • Of 22 coal blocks in the area, seven have already been allotted with mines. Hence, increasing the reserve area would have made several coal mines become unusable.
  • However, the government has said the decision to reduce the area is because of requests from villagers and public representatives. But villages have already given their consent to the acquisition of their land.

Note: Chhattisgarh has two national parks, three tiger reserves, eight sanctuaries, and one biosphere reserve covering 8.36% of its geographical area and 18.92% of its total forest area.

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