No matter how hard it becomes for industries to acquire land, with the new legislation in place the fact remains it may still be a terrible blow to the ecology if they do get some land. Consider two rich bird habitats, one untouched and the other, nearly gone.
About 10 kilometres away from the bird sanctuary of Sultanpur, is a stunning Basai village, with green fields, wetlands and in season, spectacular birds -from Painted Snipes to Golden Pacific Plovers.
In the last few years, the fields have been hemmed in by new multistoried constructions.
The fields have been sold. Such building will expand, and the wetlands will be lost. There is simply no value placed on the ecosystem, and its importance to life.
Luckier, till now, is the lovely village of Sonkhalia, near Ajmer. Every monsoon, the shy Lesser Floricans breed here. Birders travel from as far as Bangalore and Mumbai to see the famous ‘jump’ of the male Florican, a leap up to a few feet, above the jowar fields it typically hides in.
No construction is under way here, but it is close to an important city, and given the trends of urban expansion, may see shifts in the coming decade. Even though this is a protected area, market forces can be brutal.
Solutions should be on a case-to-case basis and farmers should not be deprived. We need incentives for farmers and other landowners to not sell an important habitat.