Seven decades later, thousands of families of Desert National Park (DNP), in Rajasthan can finally take a sigh of relief as the Union environment ministry has assured to support the development projects in the region, people in the know of the matter said on Wednesday. Union minister of state for agriculture and farmer’s welfare and BJP’s Barmer MP Kailash Choudhary confirmed the development.
The development activities were restricted in DNP since 1980s to protect the park’s ecology, according to the people quoted above. Due to this, people of the region have been deprived of basic amenities like electricity connections, water pipelines, roads and other construction projects, said the people. The area residents could not get no-objection certificates for setting up tube wells for irrigation or to avail Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loans.
However, all this will change as earlier Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav assured “to support the development projects in the DNP area.”
Confirming the development MP Kailash Choudhary said he along with a delegation of DNP residents and local representatives had met Yadav last week in this regard.
“I informed him (Yadav) about the ground situation of DNP where people are deprived of basic amenities like electricity connections, water pipelines, road and other construction projects. Due to the restrictions, Bharatmala projects are also stuck there,” said Choudhary.
He said besides giving assurance of full cooperation, Yadav also directed the concerned officials to take immediate action. He also gave his consent to start working on Bharatmala road project and giving electricity connections to the needy on priority basis. “It is an important move and will surely resume the chain of development works in the DNP area. It will help the people to be part of the mainstream, “ said Choudhary.”
Spread in around 3162 square kilometres, DNP covers more than 39 revenue villages of Jaisalmer and 59 revenue villages of Barmer district.The 100 kilometres stretch of Bharatmala road has been stuck from Sunadra village to Keshar Singh Ka Tala and Myajlaar to Jaisalmer in Jaisalmer district due to the restrictions.
Reacting to the development, activist Rajendra Singh Bhinyad who has been struggling for relaxation of norms in the DNP region, said: “First of all DNP is a big joke.”
He claimed that it is a sanctuary but not a national park. Officials of the forest department have spread this rumour, he said. Bhinyad demanded that “instead of temporary relief, the government should declare this region as biosphere region to ensure simultaneous boost to the development and conservation.”