NGT says MP has failed to save its gharials; forms panel to draw up action plan

Bhopal: Saving Madhya Pradesh’s Son Gharial Sanctuary and the endangered gharials from extinction is a big challenge for the state government and the wildlife experts. The sanctuary, spread over an area of 209 hectares, was established in 1981.

According to the Central bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the state government has failed to save gharials. A full bench of the NGT has formed a six-member expert committee which would prepare an action plan for the protection of rare gharials and turtles in Son Gharial Sanctuary. The committee will submit its report in a month.

Experts from top organisations

The committee will have one expert each from Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) Bhopal, Wildlife Institute Dehradun and Indian School of Mines Dhanbad. Besides it will have nominees of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and National Judicial Academy Bhopal and Collector of Sidhi district. The committee will begin work within two weeks. Committee members will have the freedom to interact through video-conferencing and will be free to obtain suggestions from other stakeholders and representatives of concerned states.

98 per cent gharials exterminated

The gharial population was first identified here in 1946. Since then 96 to 98 per cent population of gharial has been exterminated. Female gharials lay eggs on the banks of Son river which hatch in March-April. But after the building of Bansagar dam there is no flow of water in the river at this time and it remains dry at many places.

The eggs are also destroyed due to illegal mining. Gharial hatchlings are also caught in fishing nets and die.

(Story: Harekrishna Dubola)

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