India’s immense plans for industrial development threaten tigers

India's immense plans for industrial development threaten tigersIndia’s tigers are at risk from the rapid development programme being instigated by Nahendra Modi’s government. Despite the fact that the country is home to more tigers than anywhere else on Earth, many of the big cats habitats are now being lined up for major industrial development schemes designed to harness their natural resources to power the country’s ongoing industrial progress. “India is razing forests and flooding them with dams, giving the go-ahead for new mines and pushing rapid industrialization,” writes Sharon Guynup in the New York Times. “The 2015 budget cut funding for the environment ministry by 25 percent and support for tiger protection by 15 percent.

In Brief
  • India is home to almost three-quarters of the 3,200 tigers left in the wild across Asia.
  • A proposed river-diversion scheme that was shelved by Jairam Ramesh, the environment minister under the previous national government, who called it “disastrous” idea, would submerge nearly one-third of the Panna Tiger Reserve.
  • A proposed expansion to a road running along the edge of the Pench Tiger Reserve would turn it into a four-lane highway, yet without including overpasses for wildlife at crucial crossings.
  • Over 125 dams have been proposed for the Brahmaputra River system in north east India.
  • “India must, of course, develop,” writes Guynup. “About two-thirds of its population lives on $2 a day or less and 400 million lack electricity. But “green accounting” must be part of the development equation. Dismembering protective laws will have untold consequences: The country will ultimately have to pay for short-term corporate profits with denuded land, polluted air, scarce, filthy water, ill health and the loss of its mighty national animal, the tiger.”
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Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith is the editor and co-founder of Travindy. He is a writer and communications consultant working for a more responsible and sustainable tourism industry. He is the author of two books, writes a fortnightly blog on responsible tourism for World Travel Market, and provides consultancy to a wide range of companies and organisations, ranging from National Parks to individual hotels and tour operators.

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