Malleable ecological concerns

Though the Himachal Pradesh government is willing to sacrifice the interests of villages in the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) for the cause of conservation of biodiversity, these concerns seem to take a backseat when other interests are involved. It has denotified 90 sq km of the park area for the proposed Parbati Valley hydel project as a wildlife sanctuary where there are no restrictions on access to forests. The area is believed to be rich in biodiversity. The move has been justified as a humane gesture for two villages, Shakti and Marore. It is interesting to note how the presence of the hydel project has made these villages more equal than others.

The move has been strongly opposed by non-governmental organisations like Kalpvriksh, which has sent a letter to the Prime Minister signed by wildlife conservationists.

Their pro-wildlife stand requests the Prime Minister to save the GHNP by disallowing the intrusion of the hydel project within the boundaries of the park, although they remain silent on the local people's rights to the forest.

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