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
|Blue Sheep / Bharal||least concern. Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar.|
|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.|
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.
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.
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.