The besieged sanctuary
Mains Paper 4: Environment
Prelims level: Wildlife Institute of India
Mains level: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation,
environmental impact assessment
- In December 2012, villagers of the Idu Mishmi tribe of Arunachal
Pradesh spotted three tiger cubs in the Dibang Valley. They reported the
sighting immediately to the forest department.
- A three-year-long study followed and, earlier this month, it
revealed the presence of 11 tigers in the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Unfortunately for them as well as other flora and fauna in the
region, “development” has come calling, meaning they might soon have no
place to call home.
Significance of WII
- The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has effectively paved the
way for at least two mega hydel power projects in one of India’s richest
- The Etalin hydel project to be jointly developed by Jindal Power
in Dibang Valley district and the Arunachal government and the Lower Demwe
hydel project in Lohit district.
- The Demwe project is dangerously close to the Kamlang Wildlife
Sanctuary and environmentalists have already voiced fears about the adverse
impact the power plant will have on the flow of the Lohit river.
- It will also jeopardise the habitat of the Gangetic river dolphin.
- A 2014 study of the site by Asad Rahmani, director of Bombay
Natural History Society, revealed that the project would also end up
submerging parts of the Parshuram Kund Medicinal
Plant Conservation Area, home to “globally significant medicinal plants”.
- The Etalin project paints an equally grim picture.
- It entails large-scale forest diversion and the felling of
approximately 2,80,000 trees, besides impacting 18 villages.
- Both are instances of what has become a predictable arc of
environmental and ecological disruption.
- In November, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin
Gadkari flagged off several road development works in Chandrapur district,
- The Tadoba tiger reserve is located close by and about 100 km of
roads will cut through tiger corridors.
- In Karnataka, in July, the road ministry called for the state’s
consent to lift the night-traffic restriction on NH 766 passing through the
Bandipur National Park, furthering fears of more roadkills.
- The role of WII assumes great significance.
- The country’s premier institute on wildlife and forestry, its
recommendations often decide if the ministry will grant or deny project
- For the Dibang Valley project, the environment ministry modified a
recommendation from its Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) to carry out an
environment impact assessment.
- The WII initiated a study to assess how the project’s wildlife
impact can be minimised. In the past, too.
- The WII has waded into controversy. At a time when, globally,
environmental issues are increasingly driving policy.
- The WII must be more mindful of the responsibility it is vested
Q.1) The government has recently cleared the project to use conservation
drones in tiger reserves of India. The project is an initiative of which of the
1. Animal Welfare Board of India
2. National Tiger Conservation Authority
3. Wildlife Institute of India
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 and 3 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1 and 2 only
Q.1) Critically evaluate the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has effectively
paved the way for at least two mega hydel power projects in one of India’s
richest biodiverse zones.