PUCL Bulletin, August 2004


Oil exploration threat to the Desert National Park

Prime Minister of India, Secretariat, South Block, New Delhi

Minister of Environment and Forests, 423 Fourth Floor, Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road New Delhi - 110 021

Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, Bhagwan Das Marg, New Delhi – 110001

Desert National Park set up in 1980 is home to rare species such as the Desert Fox, Spiny-tailed Lizard, Chinkara, Blackbuck, Nilgai, Wolves, Desert Cats, the Spotted and Tawny Eagle and the endangered Great Indian Bustard. It is presently facing a wide variety of threats from ill-conceived agricultural, and irrigation policies, roads, industries, and hunters. The habitat is already under immense pressure and threat.

National wildlife Board was constituted with powers to review all proposals for the diversion of lands from Protected Areas. Bombay Natural History Society, an internationally respected organisation, which was behind the formation of NWB, has now been unceremoniously thrown out of NWB! Wild lifers of international repute like Valmik Thapar and Ranjit Singh have also been removed from NWB! All this has been done to make NWB pliable to the whims and fancies of the industrial lobby including Oil and Natural Gas Corporation...

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned over the recent proposal of NWB permitting ONGC to explore for oil in Desert National Park. With less than 5 percent of India under the Protected Area Network, under no circumstance should even this small percentage of land be opened to exploitation. Such an event, if permitted, would result in devastating ecological irreversible imbalances ultimately fatal to man.

Furthermore, with global warming already a reality, India needs to move to renewable energy sources and refrain from continuing the path of fossil fuel dependency.

For all the above said and other reasons, we request your good selves to intervene in the matter and reject granting of permission to ONGC to explore for oil in the Desert National Park. Thanking you. -- Chidambaran K. and 62 Others, 15 Law Chambers, Sampath Nagar, Erode, Tamil Nadu 638 011, 19. 5.2004


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