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2 defence projects among 133 cleared by wildlife panel

New Delhi, Nove 27 (PTI) :  Over 130 projects, including two defence proposals for areas bordering Pakistan and Bangladesh, have been cleared by a wildlife panel chaired by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

The newly-formed standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) had cleared the projects at its meeting in August but these were put on hold after the Supreme Court restrained the board from executing any decision taken by it.

Last week, the court lifted the stay.

Environment Ministry sources told PTI that the high-power panel, chaired by Javadekar, has cleared 133 projects falling in wildlife areas of the country.

These include proposals for control of fencing and patrol road along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Mizoram's Dampa Tiger Reserve and construction of a state highway in strategically important Gujarat's Kutch area bordering Pakistan.

The sources said the panel took the decision to clear the two defence proposals keeping in mind the country's security.

The proposal for control of fencing and patrol road along the Indo-Bangladesh border in Dampa Tiger Reserve was mooted by the security forces "to stop infiltration of insurgents".

"The recommendation of the previous standing committee was accepted subsequent to the recommendations of the State Board of Wildlife, Mizoram," one of the sources said.

The source said the proposal for construction of a state highway through a wild ass sanctuary in Kutch was taken as it was on "strategically important Indo-Pakistan border".

Concerns raised by the previous committee about safety of a mangrove patch and interference in water regime of the Wild Ass Sanctuary were addressed by providing appropriate measures like formulating the design of the road in consultation with the Wildlife Institute of India, the source said.
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