Hydel projects pose threat to Pakke tiger reserve

Centre rues lack of review at Pakke
- Hydel projects pose threat to the tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh
Guwahati, Aug. 28: The Centre has indicated that there has been no systematic assessment of threats to Pakke tiger reserve in Arunachal Pradesh from power projects.
This has been pointed out in the management effectiveness evaluation report of Pakke tiger reserve prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
“The threats have been identified in a systematic way, but there have been no systematic assessment,” the report said.
It said power houses and hydel projects, which pose as new threats, would affect the protection efforts because of the increased biotic pressure, pollution and others.
The biological corridors currently used by animals would also be affected, it said.
The 861.95 square km Pakke tiger reserve lies on the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
A park official said of the four power projects coming up in the vicinity, two would require diversion of the core area of the reserve.
“We have been raising these issues constantly with the authorities at the Centre as these are threats to the reserve,” the official said.
The report said the state government has signed an MoU with Mountain Fall Company based in Delhi for construction of 1,200MW power project across Kameng river near Pinjuli where the Pakke tiger reserve, Eagle Nest wildlife sanctuary and Thenga reserve forest merge.
“Though the Mountain Fall Company has not submitted its report, the pre-feasibility report of the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (Neepco) reportedly suggests 27 hectares of the tiger reserve will be submerged in addition to the expected disturbance during construction,” it said.
“We are being constantly pressurised to give clearance to the projects as MoUs have been signed with the state government,” the official said.
The report said the construction of 600MW power house at Kimi in the north western part of the reserve has brought in thousands of labourers leading to several settlements in the fringes, which could be a threat in future. “A diversion tunnel at Pakke side under the dam will also affect the reserve,” it said.
The tiger population of Pakke, which it shares with Nameri in Assam, is estimated to be nine.
The reserve forms a part of larger landscape with adjoining Sonai Rupai sanctuary and Nameri tiger reserve and also reserve forests such as Tenga, Doimara and Pappum.
The Sessa Orchid wildlife sanctuary and Eagle Nest wildlife sanctuary are also adjacent, though on the other side of the river.
The area is also important in terms of watershed with several streams originating from the landscape leading to Pakke and Kameng rivers. It also forms part of the Kameng elephant reserve.
The area is rich in wildlife with 40 species of mammals, 300 species of birds, 20 reptile species, 8 amphibian species and 12 species of fishes and butterflies.
The report said the communities in the fringe area are exerting some pressure in the form of collection of non-timber forest products and tribal hunting to a limited extent.


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