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Boundaries of sanctuaries in Ladakh to be 'rationalised'

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    11th Apr, 2022

Context

Ladakh has identified proper mapping and boundary identification of Changthang and Karakoram sanctuaries along the India-China border as a priority concern.

About

  • The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has been asked to map and identify areas of 'high conservation value' to help 'rationalise' boundaries - allowing for addition or deletion of land.
  • The Ladakh administration is holding a series of meetings to expedite the process, which will impact not only the rich biodiversity of the cold desert but also the economic, agricultural and strategic planning in and around the sanctuaries.
  • Both areas were declared national wildlife sanctuaries in 1987. However, according to sources, the 1987 notification failed to map the boundaries correctly.
  • Also, the growth of the human population has changed the dynamics there.

Developmental Projects in the area:

  • To construct roads or outposts near the India-China border, armed forces, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Border Roads Organisation require clearance from the National Board of Wildlife.
  • The environment ministry has been expediting these projects, especially after the 2020 conflict.
  • A few days ago, the wildlife board cleared the construction of roads through these sanctuaries.
  • Also, the country's first Geothermal Field Development project has been cleared and it will come up at in Ladakh.
  • In March 2021, Changthang wildlife sanctuary land was diverted for constructing 24 outposts at Chushul, Hot Spring, Chumar, Dungti, Dhan Singh, PP 16, Silung La, Hanley, Lukung, Bao Nallah and other adjoining areas.
  • The wildlife board also Okayed a dozen roads along the India-China border in August 2021 and followed it up with more nods in October.
  • These included roads in the vicinity of the Pangong Tso as well as the Saser Brangsa Gapshan road off the Karakoram sanctuary - an alternative alignment to the Daulat Beg Oldie site - leading to India's highest airstrip.

India’s First Geothermal Project in Ladakh

  • Ladakh’s administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for establishing India’s first-ever geothermal field development project.
  • About the Project: ONGC Energy Centre is the implementing agency for this pilot project, which aims to generate a new green energy source for the UT.
  • Location:
    • In Eastern Ladakh, Puga and Chumathang are said to be the most promising geothermal fields in India.
    • These areas were discovered in the 1970s and initial exploratory efforts were made in the 1980s by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).
    • However, subsequent efforts at the exploitation by various government and private agencies did not materialise.
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