Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sikkim Environment, bio-diversity in peril

By M H Ahssan

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has said that the environment and bio-diversity in Sikkim have been threatened by construction of hydel power projects and absence of government safeguards.

The state government has not taken sufficient precaution against degradation of environment and bio-diversity by drawing up a catchment area treatment plan and protection of riverine fishes, the CAG in its report for the financial year 2008-09 said.

The CAG criticised the forest, environment and wildlife management department in particular as well as the independent power producers (IPP) for failure to set down a plan to address potential degradation of the environment.

The department, the CAG says, has failed to prepare an annual plan for protection of wildlife, preservation of bio-diversity and development of infrastructure although it received Rs 26.37 crore from six IPPs towards cost for compensatory afforestation and catchment area treatment. etc.

The CAG also pointed out that the aquatic life in Sikkim faced a grave threat in the wake of change in the ecology of the river system due to creation of reservoirs, fluctuation in natural river discharge and diversion of river water through closed tunnels.

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