"Marki-Barka East and Marki-Barka West coal blocks in the Singrauli coal field, Madhya Pradesh that are reported to be re opened by Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) once again, fall within corridor connecting multiple forest patches such as Bagdara sanctuary with Sanjay Dubri tiger reserve," Greenpeace said in a statement.
It said that Dongrital block on the other hand is located along the boundary of Sanjay Dubri tiger reserve, falling well within the 10 km buffer it.
Diverting these coal blocks could cause irreversible damage to both the tiger reserve as well and the migratory corridor, Greenpeace said.
Reacting to the government's move, Greenpeace forest campaigner, Nandikesh Sivalingam said, "If MoEF allows mining in such critical wildlife areas it will be only undermining its own mandate to protect forests and wildlife."
The NTCA/WWI 2011 report, "Status of tigers. Co predators and prey in India"[i], has reported that tigers and leopards are present in the forests overlapping several coal blocks in the region including Mahan, Amelia North, Mara Mahan and Chhatrasal.
Mahan coal block is less the 10Km from Dongrital coal block. This suggests movement of tigers/leopards from Sanjay Dubri to the forests to the north and east of the tiger reserve.
"It is highly likely that the habitat in Dongrital is a migratory passage for these species. Hence diverting these coal blocks could cause irreversible damage to both the tiger reserve as well and the migratory corridor," the organisation said.
Greenpeace demanded that FAC should not allow mining projects in key wildlife areas, which entails destruction of habitat of several animal species.
"The environment ministry should take decisions which do not go against the mandate for wildlife protection laws," said Sivalingam.
--IBNS (Posted on 09-01-2014)