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Transformation in the Foot Hills and Doors in West Bengal


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It deals with the transformation that that taken place during last few decades in terms of 'development' induced increasing population pressure and its impact on environment with special reference to loss of biodiversity.

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Transformation in the Foot Hills and Doors in West Bengal

  1. 1. TransformaTion of fooThills of Jalpaiguri: DevelopmenT or DisasTer? Presented By A.K. M. Anwaruzzaman, Selection Grade Lecturer, Malda College, Malda, presently Research Scholar (UGC-FIP), CHS, NBU & Prof. R. Sahu, Professor & Director, CHS, NBU
  2. 2. •BengalTiger found dead near railway track,The Hindu, June 19, 2007 •Scent of human in Leopard death,TheTelegraph (Kolkata), April 04, 2008 •Leopard dead on tracks – railways deny collision charge,TheTelegraph (Kolkata), August 13, 2008 •More casualties in man-elephant conflict, The Statesman (Kolkata), July 23, 2008 “The man- elephant conflict continues in north Bengal with five human casualties in the last 15 days.” “At least nine wild elephants too have died unnatural deaths in North Bengal in the past 45 days by way of electrocution, poisoning and train accident.” •Three elephants killed in a day,TheTelegraph (Kolkata), July 19, 2008 •Train runs over elephant calf in North Bengal, News Post India, July 26, 2007 •Elephants body found near Indo-Bhutan border,TheTimes of India, July 26, 2007 •Train kills another elephant,The statesman news service, April 12, 2007 •Villagers and Elephants fight for right to life in India, Reuters, January 11, 2007 “When a herd of wild elephants rampaged through a school kitchen in India's West Bengal state, gobbling up rice and lentils, seven-year-old Suman Bera and classmates were left without lunch -- and lessons.”
  3. 3. Day to day happenings continued……  Bengal forest officials concerned over mysterious death of elephants, The Daily India, Dec 24, 2006  Elephants have a meal, The Telegraph (Kolkata), November 29, 2006 “After unscrupulous suppliers and careless teachers, it is the turn of wild elephants to wreak havoc with the mid-day meal for school children”.  Man-elephant conflicts in Assam causing concern, The Hindu, December 15, 2006  Separate trains hit and kill 2 elephants in a week in Indian state, The Associated Press, November 19, 2006  Wild elephants spread havoc across Darjeeling tea estates, October 28, 2006  The Collision Course,The Statesman (Kolkata), May 25, 2007  Conflicts over coexistence, The Statesman (Kolkata), December 12, 2008  Standing together to save the elephants, The Statesman (Kolkata), 16 January, 2009
  4. 4. Picture 066.jpg Development at what cost and for whom?
  5. 5. Development leads where?
  6. 6. How secure is the future of?
  7. 7. gfdfdgfgfddfgfd Development at what cost?
  8. 8.
  9. 9. Trend of Growth of population (1901-2001) in Jalpaiguri district 0 500000 1000000 1500000 2000000 2500000 3000000 3500000 4000000 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 Year Population Population
  10. 10. Diagram-3: Population Growth: Jalpaiguri VsWest Bengal (1901-2001) 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 Year IndicesofPopulation growth Jalpaiguri WestBengal
  11. 11. Ist 2nd 4th 7th 3rd ⇒ 2ND 4TH 6TH 1ST 5TH 3RD 7TH
  12. 12. Ist stream of migration from Jharkhand  Mainly migration of tribals from Jharkhand.  Tea plantation starting with Gajoldoba T.G. in 1874.  Rail line construction: a) Bengal-Dooars Railway (BDR) was established to transport the locally available resources in 1893. b) Assam-Bengal Railway Company in 1892 to transport Tea and Jute.  Bengal Lime and Stone Company (BLSCo) in 1932 to mine Limestone, Dolomite and Calcite.
  13. 13. 2nd Stream of migration from Bangladesh  Propelled by partition of India in 1947.  11,700,000 refugees arrived in India from East Pakistan.  Jalpaiguri witnessed 48.27% growth rate during 1951-61.
  14. 14. 3rd stream of migration from Tibet  Tibetan migration during 1950s.  Chinese aggression in Tibet in 1950.  Tibetan Uprising in 1956.  Severe atrocities by Chinese Red Army to crash uprising led to death of 80,000 in central Tibet alone.  Some 1.5 lakh Tibetan took shelter in India.  Large number of Tibetans settled in the foothills of Jalpaiguri mainly Bhutanghat, Sinchula, Buxa Fort and Santalabari region.
  15. 15. 4th stream of migration from Bangladesh  Triggered by War of Independence of Bangladesh in 1971.  Bengali speaking mainly Hindus and some others (10million) took shelter in W.B.  Atrocity by Pak Army and also economic insecurity functioned as ‘push factor’.  Large number of Bangladeshi refugees settled in Jalpaiguri district.  P. Datta (2002) observes “between October and the end of the year 2002, an estimated 5,000 to 20,000 Bangladeshis, Hindu and other minorities fled to India”.
  16. 16. 5th stream of migration from Assam  Propelled by Assam Accord 1985.  Tripartite Assam Accord (15th Aug, 1985) was signed among ASSU, Assam state and Indian Dominion.  Provisions of Assam Accord, particularly clauses b, c and d frightened all Bengali speaking people.  Bengali people were threatened with dire consequences.  Many Bengalis migrated to Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar from Assam and the process is still on.  Around 50 thousand people settled only in Alipurduar Sub-division.
  17. 17. 6th stream of migration from Nepal  Encouraged by Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 31st July, 1950.  Allowed free movement of goods and people.  Free movement of Nepalese anywhere in India.  Immigration of Nepalese in India was allowed.  Nepalese can own landed property and can be employed.  They will enjoy equal rights at per Indian citizens in India.  Entire Dooars received this stream.
  18. 18. Year Nepali immigrants in India 1951 278972 1961 498836 1971 526526 1981 501292 1991 478694 Nepali migration in India Source:Collected from Dutta, P. (2002): “ Nepali Migration in India”, p.18 retrieved from
  19. 19. 7th stream of migration from Bhutan  Agitation in favour of democracy (1991-92) by Bhupalese angered the Monarch.  Bhupalese (Nepali origin but residence of Bhutan) were driven out of Bhutan.  The ethnic cleansing resulted expulsion of 1,00,000 Bhupalese from Bhutan.  Expelled Bhupalese took shelter in different camps in Jalpaiguri district.  Bagrakot, Kalchini, Looksan and Birpara have such Bhupali refugee camps.
  20. 20. Population growth and deforestation in selected villages Block/Police Station Mouza/Village Forest area (ha) (1981) Forest area (ha) (1991) Decadal change in ha Decadal (1981-91) growth rate of pop. (%) Mal Gajoldoba 1184.92 00 (-) 1184.92 -00.04 Banarhat Maraghat 4571.78 00 (-) 4571.78 NA Birpara Riti Forest 459.72 459.72 No change 19.05 Madarihat Titi forest 2847.40 2847.40 No change 06.00 Kalchini Bhutri forest 1507.46 1507.46 No change 44.20 Kumargram Raydak 10036.21 510.00 (-) 9526.21 791.00 Metiali Nimna Tandu 366.65 366.65 No change 149.64 Source: District Census Handbook, Jalpaiguri, Census of India, 1971, 1981 and 1991.
  21. 21. BTR= Buxa Tiger Reserve GRMR= Gorumara W S JLDP= Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary GRBT= Gorubathan WS MWS= Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary Bio-diversity Reserves, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Dooars ⇒ 977.51 sq. km
  22. 22. What major ‘Development’ projects are being implementeD ?  Tista barrage and Tista Low Dam Project (under costruction)  Alipurduar-Siliguri MG line converted into BG line  NH 31 and newly constructed (incomplete) East-West corridor pass through this region  Part of ILRP i.e. Brahmaputra-Sankosh-Farakka section is aligned through this region  Indo-Bhutan Rail link
  23. 23. What are the problems then?  Shrinking of natural habitats for wild lives  Sever encroachment of forest area by locals and development agencies as well as poachers and timber smugglers / thieves  Herds of elephants and other animals coming out of forest in search of food and raiding standing crops and human habitats. Result is conflicts for bare existence.  Speeding trains (after MG conversion into BG lines) and heavy vehicular traffic through NH 31 and East-West Corridor.  Elephant corridors are dismantled causing heavy death toll.
  24. 24. Elephant calf killed by Guwahati bound goods train near Garopara on 12th April, 2007 gfdfdgfgfddfgfd
  25. 25. Royal Bengal Tiger killed by Kanchenjungha Express near Dolon Tea Estate on 18th June, 2007
  26. 26. Scent of human in leopard death Posted by barunroy on April 4, 2008 MechparaTea Estate (Alipurduar), April 3: A leopard found dead here yesterday might have succumbed to injuries suffered during a fight with a worker of a neighbouring tea garden last week. Ganesh Gurung in hospital. Picture by Anirban Choudhury
  27. 27. What remedies? 1. People from out side of the region should be discouraged to settle in the region through taxation and revenue policy. Something like inner line permit may be introduced. 2. Bhupalese should be sent back to Bhutan after discussing the issue with both Nepal and Bhutan Govt. 3. All Bangladeshis who have entered in this region illegally after1971 should be identified and the issue has to be taken up with Bangladesh Govt. so that Bangladeshis may be pushed back peacefully. 4. Vigil along both Bangladesh and Bhutan border should be increased and fencing of border should be finished quickly to check infiltration. 5. No large sized ‘so called’ development projects are to be implemented which will further destroy already stressed ecology.
  28. 28. 6. All further development works have to be planned such a way that the environment is least altered and damaged and maximum manual works are generated for local people to arrest further degradation of forest. 7. Joint Forest Management and Community Forest Protection Group are to be formed and patronized. 8. Indigenous people should be given back their right of collection of minor forest produces. 9. Frequency of train services should be restricted and speed of such trains must be regulated honouring Kolkata High Court’s direction in this regard.
  29. 29. What remedies? 10. No goods train, particularly during night, be allowed to ply on the root. 11. Train plying in the Alipurduar-Malbazar-Siliguri section during night time should be immediately withdrawn. 12. Alignment of East-West Corridor along the N. H. 31 will prove to be disastrous. Bakshirhat-Tufanganj-Coohbehar-Falakata and then along S H 12 is the only economically viable and environmentally least harmfull option. 13. Brahmaputra-Sankosh-Farakka section of the ILRP should be immediately scrapped as it is not environmentally sustainable and going to be disastrous both financially and politically (Indo-Bangla relation).
  30. 30. What remedies? 14. Fencing of railway passing through the forest region of this area have to be taken up along with construction of under passes for wild lives at a distance of every 500 metres to facilitate free and safe movement of the wild animals. 15. Some 125-150 under passes will be required to be built. Each under pass may cost around 5-7 lakhs amounting an investment ranging 6.25 crore to 7.5 crore. 16. This will save the lives of hundreds of wildlives being crushed each year.