Kewal Singh Pathania, Vice-Chairperson, HP State Forest Corporation, said that as many as 775 villages of the State have been excluded from the Wild Life Sanctuary areas. He said that traditional rights of the people residing in such have been restored to them so as to bring them at par with the ongoing development process by providing them basic facilities like Roads, electricity, water etc. This comes in the wake of Apex court ruling this year, wherein the Government was to exclude 793 villages out of animal sanctuary areas. The ongoing process to exclude the remaining villages out of few sanctuary areas would soon be completed, Pathania added.
Pathania said that the decision to exclude few villages in the range of Great Himalayan National Park, which includes Tirthan and Sainj areas of district Kullu, Nargu Sanctuary in Mandi district, Kanawar in district Kullu and that of Renuka wildlife sanctuary area would soon be taken and all the villages would be taken out from the ambit of animal sanctuary areas for which the process is underway.
Vice-Chairperson, HP State Forest Corporation said that as many as 318 villages of Chamba district falling under the ambit of wild life sanctuaries had already been excluded from the same. There are five wildlife sanctuary areas of Chamba district and the villages taken out of these areas include 19 sq. kilometre area of 18 villages of Tundah sanctuary, 15.60 sq. kilometre area of 32 villages of Gamgul-Siyabahi sanctuary, 8.81 sq. kilometre area of two villages of Kugti sanctuary, 52.98 sq. kilometre area of five villages of Sechu-Tuan sanctuary, and 51.83 sq. kilometre area of Kala Top Khajiyar sanctuary.
The Government Chail Wildlife Sanctuary with an area of 93 sq. kms out of 109 sq. kms has been de-notified under rationalization process and 84 villages have excluded. The de-notified areas were proposed to be handed over partly to Divisional Forest Officers Shimla and Solan. But local people have been demanding that the administrative control of the de-notified areas should remain with Chail Wild Life Range under Shimla Wildlife Division, said he.
Pathania said that keeping in view the demands of the local people and surrounding Panchayats and also to facilitate better management of the area, administrative control of the de-notified area shall remain with the Chail Wildlife Range of Shimla Wildlife Division.
He said that after the rationalization process, there were now 30 wildlife sanctuaries spread around 6226.83 Sq. Kms, Two national parks viz: The Great Himalayan National Park and the Pin Valley National Park comprising of 1440 sq. Kms and three conservation reserves (19.17 sq. Kms).