1. Great Himalayan National Park
  2. Draft Notification on W.Ghats

Great Himalayan National Park: UNESCO nomination

why in News? March 2014: Government nominated it for UNESCO heritage site, because of its fragile ecology and inaccessibility.

  • located at Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
  • At the height of 1500-6000m. Climate: Western Himalayan temperate and alpine type.
  • Rare species found in the park
  • Also has glaciers.
  • Rivers: Tirthan, Sainj, Jiwa Nal, and Parvati. (all get water from glaciers)
  • Sanctuaries near the park: Sainj, Tirthan

UPSC’s unwritten rule dictates that we mugup the species found in this park and their “endangeredness” for MCQ!
Flora in Great Himalayan National Park

Species IUCN classification
Blue Sheep / Bharal least concern. Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar.
Snow Leopard Endangered
Himalayan Brown Bear least concern.
Himalayan Tahr near threatened. one type of goat.
Musk Deer Endangered. Musk produced by Males. Used in cosmetic/perfume industry. Also found in China.
Kalij Pheasant (Bird) least concern
Cheer Pheasant (Bird) vulnerable
Himalayan Griffon Vulture least concern. [note: Indian vulture (long billed) is critically endangered but this Griffon is least concern, as per IUCN.
Golden Eagle Least concern. Note: Bald Eagle is the national bird of USA.

Western Ghats: Draft notification

Q. Discuss in brief the Draft notification on Western Ghats ecologically sensitive areas. [100 words]
MoEF published this draft, based on Kasturirangan committee’s recommendations for protection of Western Ghats.
Salient features
In Ecologically sensitive areas:

  • New hydropower projects only after EIA (Environmental impact assessment)
  • Permitted “orange” category industries but with strict vigil.
  • Diversion of forest land for non-forest purpose: information must be provided in public domain.
  • Gram Sabha consent necessary for all new projects.

Following activities are prohibited in the Ecologically Sensitive areas

  • New thermal power plants
  • mining, quarrying and sand mining. Existing mines will be phased out within five years.
  • Any new ‘Red’ category of industries. (Categorization will be decided by pollution control board)
  • Building and township projects beyond specified size.
  • Under State governments, pollution control board and forest departments.
  • MoEF will setup a dedicated Monitoring Centre for Western Ghats
  • Any violation will be punished under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

~130 words.
Btw,Why controversy over this draft?

  • Kasturirangan committee wanted creation of ecologically sensitive areas (ECA) in Western Ghats
  • The villages are to be declared as ECA if they have more than 20% ecologically sensitive areas in their boundaries.
  • But this draft notification removed “agriculture, plantation and settlement” from ECA definition. (to benefit some regions in Kerala, because of farmers’ protests)
  • Environment activists have challenged this in in National Green Tribunal.