Monday, July 21, 2008

Chorla Ghats in imminent danger.
The Chorla Ghats forests which are part of the Mahdei Bio Region are in imminent danger from new threats and its habitats are being irreversibly damaged due to various reasons.
The main reason is the rapid increase in illegal heavy vehicular traffic that is using the newly constructed and repaired road that intersects the Ghats and connects Belgaum to Goa after crossing inter state borders of Goa-Maharashtra and Karnataka. The road, designed for small vehicles and passenger vehicles is being used by overloaded trucks and lorries carrying metal scrap, mining ore and steel due to which the road itself and the surrounding natural vegetation is under severe disturbance.
This is being done due to the gradual slope of the Ghats section which allows extra loading of trucks that get away due to non enforcement of law and excise restrictions in the region and hence prefer to use this road rather than the identified NH4A which has been designated for this type of traffic.
The illegal heavy traffic has also resulted in peoples inconvenience and safety and there is a growing demand from the villages of Chorla, Surla, Keri, Parye, etc and surrounding areas to curb this traffic which uses the road at night and disturb the tranquility as well as the health of people in the region. The rise in accidents and the risks for village settlements that are on the fringes of the constructed road are also high and are a cause of concern.
Besides which the movement of such traffic is resulting in spillage of ore and scrap metal in the forests on various occasions and is affecting the natural habitats and is consequential to damage of small vehicles and two wheelers, a fact that is being constantly highlighted by locals in the region. The non existence of helpline services, police patrols and non enforcement of excise rules in the Ghats section is being looked upon as a boon by transporters who are making the maximum advantage of this road whilst the local commuters are suffering from the same.
Besides which the Chorla Ghats, part of the Mahdei Wildlife sanctuary and important catchment area of the Anjunem reservoir is also being used as a dumping ground for illegal animal and chemical waste near the borders and in the Ghats section and needs serious attention from concerned authorities of the Government.
While the region has been acknowledged as a biodiversity hotspot by conservationists and an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International and Bombay Natural History Society in the past and also seen as a potential eco tourism hub, the need for protection and awareness amongst the masses is a necessity of the hour. That the forests that surround the Chorla Ghats are a wildlife corridor for mammals like the tiger, leopard, wild dog, sloth bear and Indian Gaur is proved and acknowledged by wildlife researchers in the past.
The repeated littering of plastic and non biodegradable waste by picnickers and tourists near the various monsoonal waterfalls and view spots has resulted in the place being plagued with rotting matter and plastic waste and wildlife ecologists are concerned about the fate of these forests due to the same.
The need to curb the heavy traffic and maintain this road for an easy access for small car owners and visitors through this picturesque spot is the need of the hour and urgent steps in this matter will help conserve this region from imminent danger.
Also the need to educate the locals as well as visitors about the natural heritage of Chorla Ghats and its biodiversity and culture is of utmost importance and needs to be addressed at all levels by Government agencies as well as by NGO’s working in the field of wildlife conservation.


prasan said...

Very Important to conserve this Entire stretch of Western Ghats with most of the area still undiscovered, I feel u r the Ist one to start some serious research here. Great Going Nirmal Sir....!!!

Sonal Vaz said...

nirmal hi,

the issue in your article really calls for urgent measures by govt. and concerned authorities.
Parts of Mahdei Wildlife sanctuary used as a dumping ground for chemical waste.. is one big axe already towards disaster.