Rajasthan second in environment-related offences

JAIPUR: Bollywood megastar Salman Khan’s involvement in 1998 blackbuck poaching case is an indicator as to how Rajasthan has remained one of leading states in reporting environment-related offences.
According to (NCRB) 2016 report, the state registered a total of 190 cases for violations related to Wildlife Protection Act 1972. This was second only to Uttar Pradesh which reported 302 cases.

The state also reported 1,191 cases under the Forest Act 1957, the second highest in the country.

Wildlife experts believe that the registration of offences by authorities, coupled with the lack of awareness on the Wildlife Act, has put Rajasthan in the number two slot. “The Wildlife Protection Act came into force in 1972. But there are many tribes who are not aware of regulations,” says wildlife enthusiast Rajpal Singh.

Many tribes, including and , poach birds such as grey partridges with traditional firearms like the muzzle loader. “This particular firearm doesn’t even need pellets. In fact, they can also operate with seeds which can do enough damage to birds,” Singh told TOI, adding that socio-economic reasons are the prime factor behind the incidents of poaching.

“We have to understand the socio-economic reasons which contribute to it. There are farmers who would do everything to protect their farms, while poor tribes often use these birds for food,” he said.

The NCRB report indicates that in 2016, Rajasthan recorded a total 1,381 cases of environment-related offences, a decline compared to 2015 when the state topped with 2,074 offences. Still, the problem persists, especially in desert areas where many cases go unreported.

“Only time will tell if such high profile cases can increase awareness about wildlife protection and forests. But certainly people will read about it and think twice before doing it,” an official said, referring to actor Salman’s poaching case.

Get latest news & live updates on the go on your pc with . Download The for your device. in English and other languages.