Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Firstpost
Jaipur: A total of 40.59% of the crimes related to environment in the country were committed in Rajasthan during 2014-16, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
The report pointed out that despite the fact, state-level interagency coordination committee and wildlife crime control units to combat wildlife crimes were not established in the state.
The crimes were mostly related to violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act -- such as uses of forest land for non-forest purposes without approval of government -- and Wildlife Protect Act -- capturing, poisoning, snaring or trapping of wild animals.
The CAG report, for the year ended March 31, 2018, was tabled in the assembly on Friday. It highlighted that the highest number of crimes related to the environment were committed in Rajasthan from 2014-2016.
Referring to the data by the National Crime Records Bureau (October 2017), the report mentions that 15,723 cases of crimes related to environment were registered in the country during 2014-16 and the number of cases in the state during this period was 6,382, which is 40.59%.
"Non-constitution of state-level inter-agency coordination committee and non-establishment of 'Wildlife Crime Control Units' in the department and in the state police despite directions of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), Government of India, was indicative of the inaction on part of the department to prevent environment crimes in the state," the report said.
It pointed out that tourist activities in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve (RTR) and Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR) could not be regulated in the absence of local advisory committee (LAC) which caused disturbance to wild animals.
In Ranthambhore, the report says, five of the 10 zones of core areas were not closed in monsoon seasons, contrary to the directions of the National Tiger Conservatory Authority (NTCA).
Despite the fact that the entire area of zone 1-10 of RTR is designated as core area, the department closed only zone one-five of the RTR during monsoon season (July-September) during 2015-2018, while zone six-10 remained open.
Scrutiny of records revealed that between July and September of these years, 24,647 tourists visited the park and it would have caused disturbance to the eight tigers who had territories in these zones, the report said.
Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is located in Sawai Madhopur district, while Sariska is in Alwar district.
The CAG report also states that the site selected for construction of the Abheda Biological park in Kota was not conducive due to adjoining garbage dumping yard, industrial areas, firing range of the Army, existence of slums nearby.
On the encroachment of forest land, the audit found that there were 18,577 cases of encroachment on forest land, involving an area of 255.05 sq km, in the state as on April 1, 2013.
"Audit observed that during 2013-14 to 2017-18, 36,975 new cases of encroachment involving 358.25 sq. km forest land were registered and 49,183 cases were disposed of," it said. "Encroachment were evicted from 531.39 sq km forest land while, 6,369 cases involving encroachment on 81.91 sq km of land were pending as of March 2018."
The CAG said that 15,883 cases of illegal mining in forest area were registered during 2013-18, of which, 8,004 cases were disposed of by levying penalty and 7,879 cases were pending as of March 2018.
It was also observed that 3,491 cases were pending for one-three years and 1,534 cases were pending for more than three years. As many as 4,388 cases were pending for consideration before the court.
"The measures taken to curb illegal mining have not been successful as indicated from the number of cases registered," the report said.