'Concrete threat to Dachigam National Park’
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Dachigam, Mar 18: Mushrooming concrete tenements in Harwan area bordering Dachigam National Park are posing a threat to the sanctuary's wildlife, including the Valley's famed Hangul (Kashmir stag).
Equipped with electricity supply, bio-gas plants and solar lights, these over 150-odd brick-and-mortar homes in in Mulnar village are squeezing the wildlife habitat areas, say National Park officials.
The Mulnar land was allotted to people under the grow more food programme for agricultural and not for residential purposes.
However, over the years the vast agricultural fields bordering the park have transformed into a village, say the officials.
A school and a Masjid have sprung up in the village located inside the Park but now stands delineated from it.
"Mulnar village is not a part of the National Park. It has been delineated," Regional Wildlife Warden Hafeezullah Siddiqui said.
Even the 200-hectare sheep breeding farm inside the National Park is restricting the grazing area for Hanguls, whose numbers have dwindled from around thousands in 1947 to just 218.
"The chief minister has directed the sheep breeding farm should be relocated within three months," Siddiqui said.
Veterinarians claim the removal of the farm will only endanger wildlife existence in the National Park.
They argue the farm acts as a buffer between the village and the Park. Its relocation will increase incidents of animals straying into human settlements.
Mulnar had mainly mud-and-wood 'dhoks' (huts) belonging to the local Gujjar population before the eruption of militancy in 1990.
A wildlife official, on condition of anonymity, said the government was aware of the threat posed to wildlife by allowing human settlement so close to the Park, but chose to turn a blind eye to it.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Mar 2012 00:00:00 IST
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