JAIPUR: The state government’s commercial interests appear to be in conflict with the conservation efforts at Sorsan , Baran, which is home to thousands of blackbucks, wolves and 150 species of migratory birds.
This has become evident after it was revealed that the state mining department is actively considering three mining leases within the 50-metre periphery of Sorsan grassland and two-km radius of the proposed centre for breeding the endangered Great Indian Bustard (GIB), which comes under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act. The GIB had become ‘extinct’ in the area, which was its natural habitat.
According to documents accessed by TOI, the mining department is in the process of approving three masonry stone mines of 1.22, 1.04 and 1.33 hectares in Bilandi village. A move that is likely to harm the bird’s habitat.
This has come at a time when the government has engaged experts from across the country as well as the world to save the endangered species. While this points to corruption and nepotism, a lack of coordination between various government departments is also hampering such efforts.
Congress MLA Bharat Singh from Sangod has opposed his own government’s move and alleged that the mining department is acting in connivance with businessmen who have political influence.
“The proposed centre for breeding is 2km away and the mine blocks only 100 metres away from the grassland where GIBs used to be spotted. The two-kilometre radius fixed by the forest department is also not accurate. I have asked the divisional forest officer to send a factual report to chief wildlife warden. Land has been purchased in the area with the intention to carry out mining,” Singh said.
Sorsan is a wildlife lover’s delight with its grasslands, measuring 19.38 sq km, playing host to 1,100 blackbucks, many foxes and migratory birds. The area is an example of how blackbucks, the state animal, can prosper even outside reserves and protected areas, claimed wildlife experts.
Green activists believe that Sorsan is perfect for GIB breeding . Tapeshwar Singh Bhati, the president of the Mukundra Hills Environment and Wildlife Society, Kota, said, “Sorsan is ideal in every aspect for GIB breeding. The endangered species has been found here in the past. Various factors contribute to this, including good rainfall, low temperature as well as the required level of humidity in the air. The amount of grass is also a positive for GIB breeding. Blasting by mines in its close vicinity would disturb the wildlife ecosystem.”