Dalma Elephant Corridor saved, the proposed Rs 100 Dhalbhumgarh airport put on hold

The project could lead to an increase in human-elephant conflict in the area

Dalma Elephant Corridor, Dhalbhumgarh airport, MoEFCC, Dalma, International Union for Conservation of Nature Asian Elephant Specialist Group, Human-elephant conflict

A proposal for an airport in Jharkhand has been pushed back. Elephant corridors from Dalma to Bengal have come in the way of proposed Dhalbhumgarh airport.

The Dhalbhumgarh airport sought nearly 100 hectares of land from forests in Jharkhand that serve as corridors for elephants migrating between Jharkhand and the neighbouring state of West Bengal. The habitat of the elephant, an endangered species and India’s national heritage animal, are regularly threatened by developmental projects.

An expert panel of the Indian government’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has deferred the project while noting that the project could lead to an increase in human-elephant conflict in the area. It has sought further information for reconsidering the proposal.

The expert appraisal committee (EAC) informed that Elephants travel from Dalma to Bengal through this forest. Every year, there are number of man-elephant conflict cases in these areas. The disturbance to the elephant habitat by way of building an airport on their habitat and also by the sound of aeroplanes in the area and traffic movements will result in disturbance in the behaviour of elephants resulting in increased human-elephant conflict.”

Sandeep Kumar Tiwari of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is said to have told, “The proposed airport and resultant developmental activities around the airport will majorly impact the elephant movement between Mosabani and Chakuliya ranges in Jamshedpur (forest division). This will further degrade and fragment the already degraded wildlife habitat in the region, hindering elephant movement between Jharkhand and West Bengal and increase human-elephant interaction.”

There can be no mitigation measure that can compensate for the loss of such a forest area which is a vital elephant corridor.

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