Oil Palm in Forests is Ill-advised: Praveen Bhargav

Hyderabad: Though the Telangana forest department appears to wholeheartedly support oil palm cultivation inside forests, according to Praveen Bhargav, a former member of the National Board for Wildlife, and managing trustee of Wildlife First, a conservation advocacy NGO, the Statement of Objects of the RoFR Act records that recognized rights of traditional forest dwellers includes the responsibility to conserve biodiversity and maintenance of ecological balance while ensuring livelihood.

“Section 5 of the RoFR Act casts a duty upon holders of any forest right to protect biodiversity and ensure that the habitat is preserved from any form of destructive practices affecting their cultural and natural heritage,” he said.

He also said that Section 3 of the RoFR Act specifies that the right is for self-cultivation for livelihood and any other traditional rights customarily enjoyed excluding the right of hunting.

Describing the decision to allow oil palm in forests as “ill-advised,” he said “it is obvious that plantation and raising of exotic oil palm is a not a traditional right by any stretch of imagination since it is a commercial crop,” and that such activity, “is both ecologically and legally untenable.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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