Govt for further amendment to Wildlife Protection Act


New Delhi: Government will bring further amendment to the Wildlife Protection Act to scientifically define wildlife corridors, a step which will save such areas from the threat of mining, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said here on Friday that the amendment will also make sure that the rights of indigenous people depending on forests are protected.

“…I need to make sure that corridors are defined with some scientific vigour so that they become legal entity… We will take necessary steps to amend the law, wherever possible to make sure these corridors become a legal entity so that they are protected by law and there can be no scope for confusion,” Natarajan said at a programme here.

“If these become legal entities, then it will become a matter of law. ….I will make sure that these corridors and habitats of our wildlife is very well protected,” the Minister said.

Noting that the Ministry faces problem when it comes to relocation of indigenous people for various projects including mining and their rights over forest produces, the Minister said the government wanted to define them as legal entity to ensure that their rights are protected.

Giving an instance, she said, “When we are trying to protect elephant corridors from mining or some projects I run into a problem because they are not defined legal entity”.

The Minister’s statement came a day after the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 which makes consultations with gram sabhas (village councils) mandatory before a scheduled area is declared as a sanctuary. (PTI)