A government panel has cleared 130 projects, including mining pits, power plants and a defence testing site, close to protected wildlife areas.
Environment minister Prakash Javadekar, who heads the panel, was not available for comments but had said earlier the ministry was following the mantra of “quick decision without any delay” based on prudent appraisals.
An intelligence bureau office will border the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in Uttar Pradesh. In Madhya Pradesh, mining has been allowed within 10 km of Sanjay Tiger Reserve in Sidhi, Son Ghariyal Wildlife Sanctuary and Kanha National Park.
The committee also allowed diversion of forestland from the Kerala’s Periyar Tiger Reserve to increase the height of Kunnar Dam. In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, a Defence Research and Development Organisation testing facility is to come up along the Bay of Bengal coast, close to a rare olive ridley turtle nesting site. The DRDO will, however, no conduct tests between January and May, when the turtles come to nest.