Villagers resent expansion of Binsar sanctuary area

PITHORAGARH: Villagers residing near the Binsar wildlife sanctuary near Almora town led by the Gram Pradhan Sangathan and other local organisations today staged a protest at Almora against the expansion of the sanctuary area in the name of the eco-sensitive zone.

BD Kasniyal

Pithoragarh, August 20

Villagers residing near the Binsar wildlife sanctuary near Almora town led by the Gram Pradhan Sangathan and other local organisations today staged a protest at Almora against the expansion of the sanctuary area in the name of the eco-sensitive zone.

The villagers alleged that if the violation of their traditional rights continued, they would launch an agitation against the expansion of the sanctuary and protection of their traditional forest rights.

“The initial area in the eco-sensitive zone notification for the sanctuary was 45.49 sq km but it has now been increased to 47.07 sq km, causing difficulties to villagers residing near the sanctuary,” said Sunil Barakoti, organiser of the protest.

The protesting villagers said while they were being deprived of basic rights of grazing their animals, firewood and temporary constructions in the eco sensitive zone, several hotels, resorts and houses had come up in the core and buffer zones of the sanctuary.

“While the core and buffer zones of the sanctuary are safe and protected from the dangers of wildlife, wild animals are damaging our crops and killing domestic animals regularly,” they said.

The villagers demanded that a proposal for declaring the surrounding area of the sanctuary as sensitive be scrapped, and its illegally occupied area be immediately got vacated. “We have decided to launch a long-term agitation in support of our demands as development works in adjoining villages stopped after the sanctuary was notified 26 years ago,” said a villager.

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