Blind Selling of Blue Gold

Published in our print edition dated 3rd August 2022

In 2010, two Japanese autoanciliaries operating from a notified industrial area in Northern India approached the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) seeking permission for extraction of groundwater. Both of these units were already having bore wells. It’s not that they were wilful violators. But the local body didn’t guide them aptly. It rather gave them some liberty to abstract groundwater, temporarily during the construction phase, against submission of some affidavit. The fact is, at that point of time, the local body was incapable of supplying adequate volume of water to those industry projects. Later on, with ample water to sell, the same local body issued notices to dismantle the structures and stop using groundwater. Subsequently, both the industries went to CGWA. After about two years, one was declined the permission, while the other was given with certain conditions, most of which were never complied by the industry. There was only one difference between the applications of these units. One declared that it has structure(s) for groundwater withdrawal, while the other one didn’t disclose fact and truth. And, the Government stood by the one which cheated by suppressing fact. The denial of CGWA’s permission to one unit is not at all convincing on any scientific grounds. It seems to be more of annoyance and ego felt by the official(s) as the industry made some follow-up for a speedy approval. There are n-number of such real stories available in India.

In the post 2020 phase, the CGWA radically changed the groundwater approval mechanism. Many Indian States have created groundwater authorities, which are responsible for groundwater governance. Suddenly, it has become a money minting department.

Regularizing defaulters is no bad idea. Because, commercial and industrial establishments were as such rampantly consuming groundwater resources without declaration. This, with any justification, could bluntly be said as theft of natural resources. And, the Government machinery failed to stop this by all means; such as failure in supplying requisite volume of water or even to punishm violators as per legal provisions.

Granting No Objection Certificate (NOC) or approval to such existing groundwater users is a good way to bring violators under the ambit of compliance. That too, generating huge and longterm revenue for the government. However, the depletion of natural resources is a worry that the groundwater authorities are skipping for the moment. They have been busy issuing NOCs or approvals. They don’t have adequate capacity or technology to check and measure if the quantum of groundwater extraction is as per approval? Oftentimes, experts and auditors find that the actual groundwater withdrawal exceeds the approved volume. Whether the conditions imposed to the groundwater consumers are being met with? Just exchanging documents may not be enough here. Ground reality must be exhibited by recharging groundwater resources with suitable quality of rechargeable water. The best and proven one is uncontaminated rainwater. It’s well known that our government bodies grossly fall flat in implementation, for whatsoever reasons.

In urban India, generally, agricultural activities are less in practice as compared to industrial and commercial activities. A majority of urban settlements in the country have been relying on groundwater. These aeras are graded in over-exploited zones. The grading terminology has been developed by the CGWA. This means the area has low carrying capacity and is vulnerable. In such cases, the process of granting Groundwater Clearance (GC) should be revisited. Notable that Governmnt of India has adopted policy that prevents granting Environmental Clearance (EC) in some areas, where the environment has no carrying capacity to accommodate new projects. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change formulates such policies on scientific grounds, which the State and Union Territories level bodies also practice.

Akin to the environment, groundwater resources also have public ownership. Sidelining public consultation in groundwater clearance is illogical and unjust.

Kovind’s Concerns over Environment

Published in our print edition dated 27th July 2022

In his farewell address to the Nation as President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind expressed concerns over environmental issues. He said "Mother Nature is in deep agony and the climate crisis can endanger the very future of this planet. We must take care of our environment, our land, air and water, for the sake of our children. In our daily lives and routine choices, we must be more careful to protect our trees, rivers, seas and mountains as well as all other living beings. As the first citizen, if I have to give one advice to my fellow citizens, it has to be this."

In April 2022, there were reports that India registered its warmest March on record, with an average maximum temperature of 33.1 ºC, or 1.86 °C above the long-term average. It was further reported that in the pre-monsoon period, both India and Pakistan regularly experience excessively high temperatures, especially during May. However, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) categorically mentioned that it’s premature to attribute the extreme heat in India and Pakistan solely to climate change. Nevertheless, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its recent Sixth Assessment Report, said that heatwaves and humid heat stress would be more intense and frequent in South Asia this century.

The United Nations has reported drought, glacier melt, and deforestation plague Latin America and the Caribbean. Reports are coming that Britain was on course for its hottest day on record with temperatures forecast to hit 40°C for the first time, forcing train companies to cancel services, schools to close early and ministers to urge the public to stay at home. Much of Europe is baking in a heatwave, with wildfires raging across tinder-dry countryside in Portugal, Spain and France. It’s not a new thing in India. Earlier, in the remote places in India, it was perceived to be hot summer. Some said it to be an impact of forest denudation.

Every world region faces a high risk of more species losses and extinctions. At 1.5°C warming, scientists expect 3-14% of the world's species on land could vanish. Most at risk are the coastal species that face future sea level rise, as well as those dependent on seasonal river flows that will be disrupted by drought or by earlier melting of glaciers upriver. Plants and animals that can't easily move to more hospitable areas are also at high risk.

The IPCC report underlines the need to conserve 30% to 50% of the Earth's land, freshwater and ocean areas – echoing the 30% goal of the U.N.'s Convention on Biodiversity. Currently, we're far from that goal. Less than 15% of the world's land, 21% of its freshwater and just 8% of oceans are under some form of protection, often with "insufficient stewardship", the report says.

Experts opine that the world would need to invest big in renewable energy and make dramatic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in this decade, including a massive scale back in use of coal, oil and gas.

But that alone wouldn't be enough. Some carbon dioxide (CO2) would also need to be removed from the atmosphere through increasing global forest cover as well as with nascent technologies such as direct air capture. Taking a glance at India’s forest cover, it increased by 0.22% during 2019 and 2021. According to some reports, growth in India’s forest cover sees an 8-year low. Nonetheless, the data is better 0.28% taking the tree cover into account with Forest cover during 2019-2021, as compared to 0.65% during 2017-2019. At the same time, a recent finding of Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR & Adjoining Areas depicts attaining only 54% of plantation targets in one of the major emission hotspots of India, the National Capital Region Districts of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi. How long can we afford missing such targets?

The new CAQM order and its impact on Paper Mills

Published in our print edition dated 20th July 2022

The new order prohibits any industry in the National Capital Region (NCR) to use coal for generation of steam in boilers both for process heat requirements as well as captive power generation. This has resulted in a critical situation for paper mills in the region.

Presently, coal is being used as fuel for steam generation. Steam provides heat to dry paper as well as in some of the mills to run turbines that generate electricity for the mill requirements. In absence of coal, biomass is an alternate fuel- not available in adequate quantities. Furthermore, the existing boilers which have been designed to run on coal cannot generate steam with desired pressure to run turbines; using biomass as fuel.

As discussed with mills, some of the mills have explored the possibility to operate boilers at reduced pressure and flow rate, of course with a loss of efficiency. But the design of many boilers prohibit these. Experts say, if the steam pressure is reduced, the specific volume increases, and hence maintaining the same flow rate from the boiler main nozzle is not possible. Modification in boilers is a difficult process.

Next alternative is PNG/CNG, a very costly affair. For the mills where steam-power cost is a major factor in costing, use of PNG would not be practically possible. Experts illustrate that use of PNG may increase cost by 2.5 times. Nevertheless, there is another alternative - use PNG to generate steam for heating and get grid connection for electricity requirements. By this, there could be a marginal increase of cost by Rs. 4-5 per kg of paper.

However, market conditions don’t allow this either. At present, paper rates in the NCR are being governed by Vapi-Morbi mills, which are near the port. Considering the freight factor, these mills get waste paper pretty easily at lower prices. Transportation of finished paper is easier compared to waste paper. Even a price increase of Rs.1.00 per kg makes it possible for the Vapi-Morbi mills to supply paper in the NCR.

A mill owner explained how regulations affect them. The industries using pet coke fuel were asked to install Flue Gas Desulfurizing (FGD), all of a sudden. There was a paucity of time to understand, to discuss or explore technology, or even to negotiate, and FGD units were installed on war footing. As the deadline approached, another order issued and sale, purchase, stock and consumption of pet coke was banned. All efforts, all investment went useless.

So, what are the options the paper mills are left away with? Use of biomass? What if, sooner or later, a new regulation comes to stop use of biomass also? Hence, many of these mills have started exploring alternate locations. Now, they fear - "What if the Government increases NCR boundaries?" This, however, is not an easy solution. Shifting of a mill involves replacement of a lot of equipment. Experts say, even a centrifugal pump or electric panel working fine at the current location, may need a change if the plant is shifted. Moreover, a typical average size mill in NCR needs at least Rs.200-300 crore investment to relocate. But for the sake of doing smooth business, these industries are trying to get rid of NCR locations. An unpleasant surprise is that some have even started exploring moving to other countries.

Taking all these into account, let’s hope that the environment of Delhi and NCR would be cleaner. We can only hope. Because what experience tells is different. From adoption of CNG fuelled vehicles to pet coke ban in industries, and from CPCB in governance to CAQM; nothing has resulted in desired results.

Environmental Labs Masking Data

NABL must ensure Data Quality

Published in our print edition dated 13th July 2022

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been emphasising quality of life, quality of education, quality of products. In his 2021 Independence Day Speech, the Prime Minister deliberated on even moving a step further than attaining highest quality standards in order to sustain in the global competition. He stated “I want to say emphatically to all the manufacturers of the country, that you should never forget that the product you sell overseas is not just a product made by your company, it is the identity of our nation, India's prestige and the faith of all the citizens of our country.”

Though, Prime Minister didn’t categorically mention Service Quality, it has an equal importance in everyday life as well. It is an integral part of manufacturing.

On searching, the definition of Quality is described in many ways - “fitness for use,” “customer satisfaction,” “doing things right the first time,” or “zero defects.” Webster’s dictionary defines quality as “a degree of excellence” and “superiority in kind”.

When it comes to the subject of environment, quality of both products and services matter. On one hand, such products may be pollution control devices used in manufacturing plants to treat aqueous, gaseous and solid wastes; while on the other hand, there are products for acoustic treatment of sound, and also various components related to such treatments. Besides, there are devices and online systems to quantify the quality of air, water, soil and noise environment.

Quality of laboratory services also play a key role in the quantification and data generation. To maintain laboratory data quality, India has adopted an accreditation system, widely known as NABL accreditation. National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) is an accreditation body that certifies ISO 17025, since 2005. It’s a constituent of the Quality Council of India (QCI). NABL is not limited to accreditation of environmental laboratories. Any testing laboratories, calibration laboratories, medical testing laboratories can avail accreditation based on specific requirements.

Even after 17 years of implementation of ISO 17025: 2005, reports issued by laboratories bearing the #NABL symbol contain terrible errors. There are a plethora of examples of incorrect, improper reporting by environmental laboratories. Interestingly, these erring reports successfully penetrate through Expert Appraisal Committees pertaining to environmental clearances of sensitive projects under EIA Notification; and Compliance reports.

Such reports containing flawed data are not limited to private laboratories. Government run environmental laboratories often issue ambiguous and wrong reports. Most alarming is, oftentimes, one can even trace test reports bearing imperfect and wrong data appended with Joint Committee reports submitted to National Green Tribunal (NGT). Obviously, such mischievous acts badly influence right environmental justice.

At a time, when the whole world including India is concerned about carbon emissions, most of our environmental laboratories prevent us from getting appropriate emission data. The stack emission monitoring reports are found without test protocol, misleading data, and incomplete parameters. Moreover, this occurs in spite of clear cut standards specified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Another major concern is that some laboratories issue reports with masked data to favour a customer’s evil intention. This is against the impartiality clause of ISO 17025 standards. It has severe ramifications in certain cases - because environmental issues have direct impacts on the health of living beings including humans. A befitting way to avert this challenge could be an immediate revision of standard reporting formats or or introduction of new ones. It is also important because the emission standards are changing dynamically. The Bureau of Indian Standards may have to take up this with NABL, and CPCB.

Further, ISO 17025 has a provision for complaint. It’s defined as an expression of dissatisfaction by any person or organisation to a laboratory relating to the activities or results of that laboratory. To ensure environmental data quality, the complaint procedure must be simplified and transparent. In the digital age, it should be made clearly visible on a laboratory’s website. NABL can certainly make it possible.

Property Tax linked to Good Environment

Published in our print edition dated 6th July 2022

Environmental issues have always been addressed from the top. In fact, when the Ministry of Environment and Forest was created for the first time, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi himself was in charge of the Ministry.

On 1st July 2022, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi shared a social media message on Twitter “Unseemly Mountains of Garbage surround Delhi. Stinking heaps over 50m high in the Capital are not only grave health hazards but a National Shame!”

The LG sought suggestions and participation from Delhitees in the efforts to take out Delhi of over 28 million MT of waste. There were 159 comments till this write-up was prepared.

The LG didn’t stop after raising his concerns on garbage mountains. Next day his tweet was “By discharging 784 MGD sewage in Yamuna, we’ve converted our lifeline into a muck filled drain. It's time we treat all sewage generated & reuse rather than dump it into the holy river.” He again sought people’s suggestions and participation. The message got 68 comments in reply.

Another tweet on 3rd July stating “With constant poor/severe AQI, Delhi is choking on the air that it breathes. We generate most of the pollutants ourselves. Let's come together and pledge to free us of this Gas Chamber.” LG again asked people of Delhi for suggestions and participation to ensure Delhi air breathable. 73 comments were received. However, the Central Pollution Control Board data shows a different picture with lower 24-hourly AQI. Moreover, Delhi can not be a gas chamber. It’s rather choked with dust, ultrafine particulates.

The 4th July tweet from the LG of Delhi reads “With a shortage of 280 MGD, Delhi's water demands are unsustainable. Instead of blaming others, let us together make the Capital self-sufficient by conserving water & augmenting our groundwater.” It got 82 replies.

On 5th July, LG tweeted “Yamuna has zero Dissolved Oxygen & its BOD & Fecal Coliform levels exceed limits by 2,400% & 31,500% respectively. While this makes any life unsustainable, it also pollutes the river downstream.” And the tweet got 55 comments in reply.

This certainly shows that the LG of Delhi is trying to encourage participation of common people of Delhi. Taking along people is definitely a wise way to handle problems.

However, let’s look back to the 1st July responses on the worldwide issue - waste management. Among the responses, one said, first and foremost - the MCD election. Some tried to explore opportunities, while there were few grievances too. Some tried to hijack the matter with their own concerns, which don’t have any link with waste management issues.

There were some worthy replies too. People suggested a crackdown on the waste mafia, adoption of scientific processing and dumping. Ideas of generator pay principle also came. Control of illegal waste going to landfill came out. Waste clothes from Gandhi nagar area landing in Ghazipur, which must be stopped. Someone tipped that Delhi industrial waste management must be audited. There was a proposal to initiate waste management education starting from class-I. A suggestion for MCD to collect scrap from door to door with award and reward was also found. People underlined waste segregation at source, followed by other measures such as composting, and recycling. One suggestion was waste segregation at source followed by further segregation at zone level in every district.

Alas!!! Noone shared what the LG had to do. MCD serves 94% of Delhi. LG says, past financial mismanagement and non payment of property tax by 75% residents has made it go into the red. The LG has asked the people of Delhi to pay MCD dues with honesty, stating that Delhi is one of richest cities in India. Residents of India’s capital city must not default. Or else, garbage mountains may grow to the height of high rises. #MCD Share your comment

Ban all Sachets for good environment

Published in our Print edition dated 29th June 2022

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has released a list of single-use plastic items prohibited from 1st July 2022. The list has four categories (1) Plastic Sticks (2) Cutlery Items (3) Packaging / Wrapping Films and (4) Other items. Sachets used for packaging of shampoos, oils, and many other domestic products are not listed anywhere.

However, CPCB has stated that as per the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, there is a complete ban on sachets using plastic material used for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala. This is a good work, half done. The sachets are widely associated with ketchup to cosmetics, from laundry detergent to seasoning and snacks. These sachets pose a greater threat to the environment. Not only the plastic wastes cause environmental concerns. Also, the left away residue inside the sachets add to the fury of plastic waste by degrading soil and water quality.

According to Reuters, London-listed Unilever plc (ULVR.L), a pioneer in selling sachets, has privately fought to derail bans on the problematic packaging despite saying publicly it wants to get rid of them. Unilever's India subsidiary, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), is widely credited as being the first to mass market products in sachets when it started selling tiny portions of shampoo for one rupee in the 1980s.

Recently, speaking at the 89th Annual General Meeting on 23rd June 2022, HUL Chairman Nitin Paranjpe said in 2021, HUL became plastic neutral, which means, it collected and disposed of more plastic waste from the streets of India than the plastic used in the packaging of the finished products. This is one of the most misleading statements. The company has to talk specifically about its own waste. More so, about the waste sachets, due to which India has been reeling on tremendous environmental challenges.

HUL is a gigantic brand doing business in India. When India has already eighty sixed some of the sachet packaging, why HUL remains silent on the sachet elimination programme? HUL website does not share any information on its plan to eliminate sachet packaging. It says it will collect and process more plastic than it sells. Does that solve the problems existing for the last four decades from sachet selling?

The tiny plastic packets known as sachets have allowed companies to tap millions of low-income customers in the developing world but also unleashed a global pollution crisis. Though, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has covered plastic sachet or pouches under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in its Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022 notified on 16th February 2022 vide G.S.R. 133(E), it must be remembered that these tiny sachets are also hard to collect, sort and wash. Often sold without proper waste collection, these single-use sachets end up as litter, clogging waterways and harming wildlife. Recycling technology has repeatedly flopped and struggled to achieve commercial scale despite heavy promotion by plastic makers and consumer goods firms, Reuters revealed last year.

As quoted in the Reuters report, Environmentalists like Sian Sutherland, founder of A Plastic Planet, say governments need to impose bans on sachets to stimulate real change. "Then we will create the vacuum that innovation will rush in and fill," she said.

There are plenty of reports showing the bad character of this single-use plastic item called sachet. Flood is a big concern in which India loses human and animal lives; those are never counted. Hence, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change also needs to revisit the notified list of items banned. Sachets must be added to the list. This will be the full good work to protect India’s environment. Share your comment

Climate, Water and Amrit Sarovars

Published in our Print edition dated 22nd June 2022

Earlier, in April this year, there were reports that India recorded its warmest March on record, with an average maximum temperature of 33.1 ºC, or 1.86 °C above the long-term average. The reports also depicted Pakistan recording its warmest March for at least the past 60 years, with a number of stations breaking March records. It was further reported that in the pre-monsoon period, both India and Pakistan regularly experience excessively high temperatures, especially during May. However, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) categorically mentioned that it’s premature to attribute the extreme heat in India and Pakistan solely to climate change. Nevertheless, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its recent Sixth Assessment Report, said that heatwaves and humid heat stress would be more intense and frequent in South Asia this century.

Now, according to the WMO, an intense heat wave made its way from North Africa. And although it’s only mid-June, temperatures in some parts of Spain and France are, on average, more than 10 degrees Celsius higher than the average for this time of year.

Drought warnings are an added concern in much of western Europe, as no significant rainfall is forecast in Europe in the coming days, apart from isolated thunderstorms. Large areas from southeastern Central Europe to the northwestern Black Sea are also suffering from drought, WMO said, adding that in the US, much of the west of the country is facing its second or third drought year in a row, with fears of growing water stress heading into the summer season.

And one interesting information shared by the US Drought Monitor is that “The two largest reservoirs in the US, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, in Arizona, are currently at the lowest levels since they were filled: both are at just below 30 percent of capacity. When more than 2.3 billion people already face water stress, this is a huge problem. No country is immune. Water and weather, the delicate balance between evaporation and precipitation, is the primary cycle through which climate change is felt. As our climate changes, droughts, floods, melting glaciers, sea-level rise and storms intensify or alter, often with severe consequences.

This reminds Arjita Saxena’s June 2021 PhD thesis on “Climate Change and Its Impact on Watershed Behaviour”. Her work in the Department of Civil Engineering, Malaviya National Institute of Technology Jaipur, describes watershed health as dynamic and affected by any changes in climatic characteristics and landscape disturbances due to anthropogenic activities. Any adverse changes in watershed health due to external influences or stresses like climate change or natural disasters will adversely affect the ecological services and benefits we receive from watersheds. Maintaining watershed health at a sustainable level is very essential for the overall benefit of ecology, environment and society to ensure a continued supply of ecological services for uses.

The study deals with watershed health indicators and a composite Watershed Health Index (WHI), which describe the overall health of a watershed, in terms of the state of watershed behaviour representing important water balance components or response variables.

At this pressing time, when many countries of the world, including India, are facing acute water crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for the construction of 75 Amrit Sarovars (ponds) in each district of the country would prove remarkable. The total number of ponds shall be about 50,000. The government has set an objective of each Amrit Sarovar with a pondage area of minimum of 1 acre with water holding capacity of about 10,000 cubic meter. The programme also involves commemorative plantation of trees.

Water cooperation helps to reduce the risk of conflict within communities and even among countries. India’s visionary Amrit Sarovar programme may set new examples. This must be taken into account in future climate reports. Share your comment

NABET, Attention Please

Published in our Print edition dated 15th June 2022

World Accreditation Day (WAD) is observed on 9th June. WAD was jointly initiated by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) with an aim to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation-related activities.

Accreditation is the action or process of officially recognizing someone as having a particular status or being qualified to perform a particular activity. Accreditation is based on self and peer assessment. Its purpose is the improvement of product and service quality and public accountability. It is a part of the Quality Infrastructure that helps businesses of all sizes and sectors to reduce costs, limit their environmental impact, improve quality, access new market opportunities, and differentiate themselves from competitors. Thus, it involves People, Planet and Prosperity - three pillars chosen to group the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The theme of the WAD 2022 was “Accreditation: Sustainability in Economic Growth and the Environment”. This year’s theme, Accreditation: Sustainability in Economic Growth and the Environment, focuses on how accreditation supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. How can accreditation support two visions: economic growth and a healthy environment, two objectives that frequently seem to have different end goals. The world has been educating each other, excluding self education, to adopt Sustainable Development, a term in vogue since 1992.

In recent years, with a clarion call from Prime Minister India Narendra Modi, India has been looking a little more serious about quality. The Prime Minister has deliberated on Zero Defect. However, there are instances where the pollution control bodies have been issuing improper reports to the National Green Tribunal. Even the Central Pollution Control Board has submitted a document before the National Green Tribunal, calling it “Calibration Certificate” where there is no traceability.

Accreditation needs special attention by every individual to ensure quality products and services. In India, there is a growing applicability of accreditation in the field of education, health and some environmental service sectors. Hospitals, health service providers, including medical testing laboratories are increasingly seeking accreditation from National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH). And, they look into various environmental aspects too.

National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) provides accreditations to laboratories. Environmental laboratories and water laboratories also need this accreditation. Without NABL accreditation, the laboratory can’t make any major business, nor its reports bear legal acceptance. The course of accreditation has improved to a great extent, though there are several gaps – especially in the digital format. The most important aspects are use of approved equipment, calibration, standard and certified reference materials and also Proficiency Tests. Nevertheless, all the online monitoring systems are being operated without appropriate calibration.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies are carried out for developmental projects as a measure to ensure sustainable development. India has instituted a mechanism for accreditation of individuals or organizations to carry out EIA studies. Similarly, it is applicable for groundwater studies in case of major groundwater extraction projects. National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET), a constituent Board of Quality Council of India (QCI) has been given the responsibility.

Despite the NABET accreditation system, there are a huge number of flaws found in EIA reporting. Oftentimes, the Expert Appraisal Committees find incompetent reporting. And many go unnoticed. NABET is least bothered. But, now the National Green Tribunal has set aside an Environmental Clearance (EC) granted to Young Builders Pvt. Ltd. in the matter of Appeal No. 17/2021. And, the Tribunal has stated that there was no proper evaluation of the project. There were so many aspects which were not studied.

Obviously, with such pathetic EIA reporting, India can never attain sustainable development. NABET and NABL must refrain from the only job of minting money. They have a gigantic responsibility where they need to focus.

Soil: The Chemical, Physical & Biological Powerhouse

Published in our Print Edition of 25th May 2022

Soil is a finite natural resource. It’s non-renewable. Soil is a thin layer of earth’s crust that serves as a natural medium for the growth of plants. It is the unconsolidated mineral matter that has been subjected to, and influenced by genetic and environmental factors – parent material, climate, organisms and topography all acting over a period of time. Top soil consists of organic carbon that helps in soil aggregation and also improves water holding capacity of the soil that in turn helps in slowing down the flow of water through the soil. Adequate amounts of basic inorganic nutrients present in the soil are required for healthy growth of vegetation. Subscribe to read more

Why so much silence?

People rarely discussing Biological Diversity, Wildlife Protection Amendment Bills

Published in our Print Edition of 18th May 2022

Recently, the Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has been in the news for two important things, besides his Gujarat visit. And, ofcourse, after negating the non-environmental issues. The Member of Parliament to Rajya Sabha, and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment, Forests & Climate Change in April 2022 submitted the Standing Committee's report on The Wild Life Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to the Chairman, Rajya Sabha. The submission was 3 days before the deadline 24th April 2022, which was appreciated by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha.

Another one is because of his remark on exemption of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) practitioners from the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which is in final stages of consultations in the Joint Parliamentary Committee.

In response to a presentation made by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change last month before the Joint Parliamentary Committee, the former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh has written a letter addressing other members and chairman of the committee. In his letter it’s stated, “The Ministry is drawing a distinction between a registered AYUSH practitioner and a company, and exempting the former from the Act. This is an artificial distinction since the registered AYUSH practitioner may well be having informal links with a collective [family or otherwise] which may or may not have a company structure. This may well open doors for large-scale exemptions.”

He has also questioned the distinction made in the law between cultivated biodiversity and forest-based biodiversity, authority of the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA). The appointment of sixteen ex-officio officers of the Government of India is one such.

Further, he wrote, “The Ministry says NBA approval is required only at the time of commercialisation of a patent and not at the time of application for a patent. This is something that has very far-reaching implications and I can tell you that what will happen is NBA approval at the time of commercialisation will be reduced to a formality and will become a fait accompli.”

Jairam Ramesh has argued that if there are a class of violations like biopiracy must continue to get treated as a criminal offence. “The act’s deterrent powers will get severely curtailed,” he wrote.

Focusing back on the Wild Life Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Jairam Ramesh hopes that the amendments would further enhance the value of the act. The Standing Committee has prepared the report keeping in mind that India has to strike a balance between protection and development, between conservation and economic growth. Jairam Ramesh has said that unless the local people living in the protected areas have a stake in the protection of those areas.

He was also talking about the big concern in India that these amendments would open the door for trade in elephants. He said India has nearly 30,000 wild elephants, and about 3,000 elephants in temples. The latter one has a cultural significance that can’t be overlooked.

From the above two citings, it’s easy to understand a leader’s view on significant issues of the nation. People should also participate in such discussions. Who can forget the massive, visible and vociferous exchanges against the Draft EIA Notification 2020? It is still pending or under process, though the government has liberalised the EIA process through a series of amendments. Nevertheless, the wholesome change didn’t take place yet. Why is that discussion completely missing in these two cases - Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 as well as the Wild Life Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2021? India is still experiencing heat waves, which emanates from climate change, and ultimately, has linkages with these two Bills.

Noise Pollution Insights

PCBs influencing Environmental Justice

Published in our Print Edition of 11th May 2022

The ongoing noise pollution ruckus has drawn attention of all the sections of the society. It’s well known that prayers are not the only source of noise pollution. Also, this is not the first time that noise pollution issues have surfaced. Many Indians must have seen Rajinikanth- a great actor Subscribe to read more

Resizing Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary

Published in our 4th May 2022 Print Edition

Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary located in Kalahandi district and a popular tourist attraction of an eastern Indian state, Odisha. Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary is about 15 km from Bhawanipatna, the district headquarters of Kalahandi district.

Major plant communities include mixed deciduous forests and scrublands. The sanctuary is home to many wildlife species like tiger, leopard, sambar, nilgai, barking deer, mouse deer, a wide variety of birds like green munia, an et al. The sanctuary was often in the news due to a series of elephant deaths in 2021.The area of Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary, as notified in the year 1992, was 147.66 sq. km. After geo-referencing cadastral maps of villages around the Sanctuary, the area comes to 184.63 sq. km.

The Government of Odisha has sent a proposal for exclusion of an area of 4.32 sq. km. from the sanctuary. It has also been proposed to include 13.688 sq. km. in the Sanctuary. And, after the reduction and inclusion, the revised final area of sanctuary will be 193.998 sq. km., which is 9.368 sq. km more than the notified area. The proposal was discussed in the 67th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wild Life (NBWL) on 25th March 2022 under the chairmanship of Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

Earlier, the Standing Committee in its 65th meeting decided that the proposal shall be examined by a site inspection committee, which would submit its report by 15th October 2021. Accordingly MoEF&CC constituted a committee that submitted the desired report on 6th December 2021.

The committee has accepted the need for rationalisation of the boundary of Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary in view of the past discrepancies in notified area versus actual area, and the observations of the committee during the site visit. However, the committee has recommended two courses of action prior to rationalisation - (1) The current proposed rationalised boundary requires a reworking in a manner that ensures no impact of any future mining development on the Sanctuary. (2) Any future permissions given for mining of the bauxite deposits outside the Sanctuary have to ensure that the mining operations do not impact the Sanctuary.

Dr. R. Sukumar, Member, NBWL, who was a part of the Committee formed as per decision taken in the 65th meeting, said that the boundaries of the sanctuary have not been properly demarcated and there is a need for rationalisation of the boundaries. He mentioned that the committee observed that there are bauxite deposits nearby and the proposed boundary is a straight line which gives the impression that the change in the boundary has been proposed in order to allow bauxite mining in the future. The committee also observed that the mining site should not extend into the denotified area.

Notable that on 22 September 2021 Odisha Bytes reported that the auction of Karlapat iron ore and bauxite block was put on hold, in compliance with an interim order of the Orissa High court. Karlapat was among the 11 mineral blocks put up for auction by the Odisha government. Incidentally, Karlapat bauxite block lies near the Karlapat Sanctuary, a designated elephant corridor in the Kalahandi district, and is considered ecologically very sensitive. It is also important to note that Vedanta’s aluminium company is not very far from the area, and it is in the same district.

Environmentalists believe that mining of the Karlapat bauxite block would dry up 300 large and small streams in the sanctuary.

Though the decision is yet not finalised, it won’t be impossible on the part of the Odisha Government to get the Ministry’s approval. Now, the MoEF&CC has to ensure sustainability. Moreover, it is a place in the same State from which Climate Activist Archana Soreng belongs to. Soreng says Indigenous communities like hers make up only 5% of the world’s population. But they protect more than 20% of our planet’s land and 80% of its biodiversity. Will Soreng respond to this also?

Boost C&D Wastes Recycling to curb Sand Mining

Published in our 27th April 2022 Print Edition

Sand plays an indispensable part in human life. It has a major role in construction. Though the required quantity is too less, it also has a place in rituals. Even then, it’s too difficult to define sand on a scientific line. Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles between 150 micron to 4.75 mm in diameter (Indian Standard Specification IS 383-1970). Sand is formed due to weathering of rocks due to mechanical forces. In the process the weathered rocks form gravel and then sand.

United Nations Environment Programme document describes the strategic role of Sand in delivering ecosystem services, maintaining biodiversity, supporting economic development, and providing livelihoods within communities. UNEP depicts sand to be linked to all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) either directly or indirectly. Despite the strategic importance of sand, its extraction, sourcing, use, and management remain largely ungoverned in many regions of the world, leading to numerous environmental and social consequences that have been largely overlooked. In India, according to a report published by SANDRP on 24th April 2022, sand mining related violence and accidents killed 418 people in 16 months. This shows the gravity of social impacts of sand mining.

Sand is the world's second most exploited resource. The India sand market attained 833 million tons in 2020. The market for sand in India is increasing at the rate of 6-7% annually in the forecast period of 2022-2027. Extracting sand where it plays an active role, such as rivers, and coastal or marine ecosystems, can lead to erosion, salination of aquifers, loss of protection against storm surges and impacts on biodiversity, which pose a threat to livelihoods through, among other things, water supply, food production, fisheries, or to the tourism industry.

On 26th April 2022, UNEP published a report titled Sand and Sustainability: 10 strategic recommendations to avert a crisis, which provides the necessary guidance gathered from world experts to switch to improved practices for the resource’s extraction and management. The recommendations underline (1) setting the overarching agenda (2) setting the (right) institutional and legal structure and (3) implementation.

Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has issued Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016, which, inter-alia, addresses the issues relating to regulation of sand mining. Further, the Ministry has brought Enforcement and Monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining in January 2020.

The UNEP report states that Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste consists of more than 80% inert material, and it can be recycled as long as the hazardous and non-inert waste materials are separated from inert material during demolition. The UNEP report notes that sand and gravel derived products can usually be treated to recover sand resources which can re-enter the economy as recycled material. Major gains can especially be made within the construction industry both in terms of resource efficiency and avoiding waste. Recycling C&D waste is therefore primordial. It’s also stated that recycling products derived from sand and gravel, and the production of by-products have four important functions: (1) create substitutes for sand and gravel; (2) retain the value of sand and gravel products over multiple use cycles; (3) ensure that waste is well managed; and (4) lower the risk of environmental pollution by waste.

Recycling and replacing naturally occurring sand and gravel will be essential to solve many of the challenges in managing wastes from products derived from sand and to close the material loop. India has also mandated safe collection and recycling of C&D Wastes. However, the effectiveness is not at a desired level. New incentives are needed to encourage the production and uptake of substitutes of sand and gravel. Effective monitoring of regulation is key to this.

World Heritage Forests, Carbon Sinks

Published in our 20th April 2022 Print Edition

Since 1982, International Day for Monuments and Sites has been observed on 18th April. This year’s theme is Heritage and Climate. The theme has wider relevance as climate change is one of the defining issues of current time, and among the greatest threats facing cultural and natural.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) One in three natural sites and one in six cultural heritage sites are currently threatened by climate change. In recent years, the world, including India, has witnessed several cultural and natural heritage sites threatened by wildfires, floods, storms and mass-bleaching events. Some of these wildfires originated from industrial sources, human activities and some occurred from nature’s wrath. Indian Forest is fire prone in a highly to extreme category. The number of large forest fires reported during November 2020 and June 2021 was maximum 3044 in Odisha, followed by Madhya Pradesh (2970), Maharashtra (2201) and Chhattisgarh (2057).

UNESCO’s report, World Heritage forests: Carbon sinks under pressure, reveals that a staggering 60% of World Heritage forests are threatened by climate change-related events. Marine sites are equally under pressure, with two-thirds of these vital carbon stores – home to 15% of global blue carbon assets – currently experiencing high risks of degradation.

Researchers at UNESCO, the World Resources Institute and the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) have assessed the gross and net carbon absorbed and emitted by 257 UNESCO World Heritage forests between 2001 and 2020. They found that these 257 sites stored approximately 13 billion tonnes of carbon in vegetation and soils. This exceeds the amount of carbon in Kuwait’s 101 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The majority of the World Heritage forest carbon is stored in tropical sites. If all this stored carbon were to be released into the atmosphere as CO2, it would be akin to emitting 1.3 times the world’s total annual CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.

The researchers have found that 10 of 257 forests emitted more carbon than they captured between 2001 and 2020 due to different anthropogenic disturbances and pressures.

On International Day for Monuments and Sites 2022 UNESCO has brought a report “World Heritage forests: Carbon sinks under pressure”, a report that provides the first global scientific assessment of greenhouse gas emissions and sequestration by forests in UNESCO World Heritage sites.

It reveals that despite substantial carbon stored and absorbed by forests across UNESCO’s World Heritage network, the climate benefits of even some of the world’s most iconic and protected forests are under pressure from land use and climate change. For example, over the past 20 years, World Heritage sites lost 3.5 million hectares of forest (an area larger than Belgium) and forests in 10 World Heritage sites emitted more carbon than they absorbed. Continued reliance on these forests’ carbon sinks and storage depends on improved forest protection.

The reasons for emissions to be greater than sequestration included clearance of land for agriculture, the increasing scale and severity of wildfires due to drought, as well as extreme weather phenomena such as hurricanes.

India’s Sundarbans National Park is among five sites that have the highest blue carbon stocks globally. Blue carbon is an organic carbon that is mainly obtained from decaying plant leaves, wood, roots and animals. It is captured and stored by coastal and marine ecosystems.

The #UNESCO report suggests three distinct pathways to secure these forests as carbon sinks for future generations against severe weather events and land-use pressures. (1) Rapid and effective responses can help prevent devastation from climate-related events, (2) Support mechanisms that maximise intactness and connectivity of forests and (3) Integrate World Heritage sites into climate, biodiversity, and sustainable development agendas. However, while dealing with forests in many parts of India, it is indispensable to include the forest dwellers and understand their lifestyle.

Differentiate CER from CSR to make it effective

15th April 2022

The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility, widely known as CSR is not new in India. If we look back, there were several towns and villages, temples, educational institutions, hospitals created by the Tatas, Birlas, and probably by many other industry and business houses. All these have huge significance, even today. Now, CSR has a legal binding. However, according to the latest available data for the fiscal ending 31st March 2021, which was worst hit by the pandemic, a mere 0.24% of the total number of registered companies participated in CSR. The concept of CSR is provided under the Companies Act, 2013 and Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules 2014.

At the same time, there are provisions made under the Corporate Environment Responsibility (CER) activity. As per the Office Memorandum (OM) issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 1st May 2018, a maximum of 2% in case of Greenfield projects with capital investment or capital expenditure (CAPEX) of less than or equal to 100 Crore, and 1% of Additional CAPEX in case of Brownfield projects; was to be kept reserved for CER activities. There were five slabs upto above 10,000 Crore CAPEX 0.25% and 0.125%, for greenfield and brownfield projects, respectively. However this has changed now as per OM vide Subscribe to read more

Green Governance must for Good Health

6th April 2022

Theme of World Health Day this year is Our Planet, Our Health. Very justified, and judicious. The corona pandemic is not yet over. The planet is becoming increasingly polluted day by day. Diseases like cancer, asthma, heart disease, et al are on the rise. In such a situation, on World Health Day 2022, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is focussing global attention on urgent actions needed to keep humans and the planet healthy and foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.   


At such a challenging time, one should ponder upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s One-Word Movement. The One-Word, LIFE, in the context of climate that can become the basic foundation of One World. L, I, F, E, which means Lifestyle For Environment.


Nevertheless, in today’s India, responsible governance is even important to create a 360 degree behavioural change in the entire nation. Skipping important decisions; overlooking non-compliances by all types of industries - micro, small, medium and even large; diluting criminal activities as per laws are on the rise. To read full article Subscrbe to our print edition.

States, UTs ignoring importance of CBWTD?

Published in our Print Edition on 30th March 2022

Bio-medical Waste Treatment and Disposal issue has been raised in Lok Sabha, twice, during the ongoing Parliament Session. Two MPs questioned on 14th March, while six MPs asked on 21st March 2022. According to the replies of the Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, only 208 Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment and Disposal Facility (CBWTD) with an installed capacity of 1167.4 Tonnes per Day are operating throughout the country. The information furnished in the Lok Sabha was as per reports submitted by the Pollution Control Boards and Pollution Control Committees in 2020. Maharashtra has the maximum 30 facilities, followed by 25 in Karnataka and 21 in Uttar Pradesh. There are no operational CBWTFs in 9 States and Union Territories.

At the same time, according to 2019 data shared by statista.com, 18,99,230 beds were available in India. It’s also sourced from Reserve Bank of India data that till 2019 considering the number of only government hospitals, Tamil Nadu was on Advertise/Subscribe to read more

Controlling Air Pollution Data

Published in our Print Edition on 16th March 2022

Top Indians leaders have been reiterating India’s commitment towards environmental conservation. Basic environmental awareness has increased in several parts of the country. Weak areas are successfully identified by activists and media. Now, environmental issues are often discussed in both the Houses of Parliament. In spite of so much focus from everyone, authentic and valid environmental data has remained a major concern. On 14th March 2022, while replying to questions raised by Ashok Kumar Rawat, Member of Parliament, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav mentioned that there is no established mechanism for ranking the cities in terms of pollution. It also requires authentic data and proper peer review. Several private institutions and universities rank cities by adopting different methodologies, different sets of data and using different weightage to parameters. The Union Minister also stated that the data used for ranking is extracted primarily from satellite imageries, which are not validated by proper ground truthing. And, easy access to similar unreliable data affects perception and beliefs of common mass. Advertise/ Subscribe to read more

Something About Hydroinformatics

Water security is a major – and growing – challenge for many countries today. The global population is spiralling, and estimates show that with current practices, the world will face a 40% shortfall between forecasted demand and available supply of water by 2030. Feeding 9 billion people by 2050 would require a 60% increase in agricultural production, which consumes 70% of water resources today, and a 15% increase in water withdrawals. More free reading

Basics of Fuel Hydrogen

From our Print Issue 2nd March 2022

Hydrogen is widely considered to be a clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of domestic resources, such as natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, and renewable power like solar and wind. These qualities make it an attractive fuel option for transportation and electricity generation applications. It can be used in cars, in houses, for portable power, and in many more applications. It takes energy to produce molecular hydrogen. The source of energy and the production method used to make molecular hydrogen determines whether it’s classified as grey hydrogen, blue hydrogen or green hydrogen. More free reading

Are Solar Projects Really Environment-friendly?

23rd February 2022

There has been a visible impact of solar energy in the Indian energy scenario during the last few years. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy is incident over India's land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq. m per day. Theoretically, a small fraction of the total incident solar energy, if captured effectively, can meet the entire country's power requirements. And, the government has been aggressively working towards it.

Erik Solheim, an eminent environmentalist, quoted Bhadla Solar Park in Jodhpur District of Rajasthan in a social media platform. Besides being the President of Green Belt and Road Institute, Erik has many feathers on his cap. In his message, More Free Reading

Quit Cigarette for Climate

16th February 2022

In a move to fight against microplastics, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) are ...

It generates 55 Mt wastewater. The sector’s annual climate change impact at 84 Mt CO2 eq is comparable to entire countries’ emissions and 0.2% of the global ..

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Why HSPCB displayed a trader’s product to Union Ministers?

9th February 2022

Amidst the reigning, though diminishing fear of Corona, on the eve of World Wetlands Day 2022, a national level programme was organised at Sultanpur National Park, which falls within the ambit of Haryana’s Gurugram District administration. Quite close to New Delhi. The Chief Minister of Haryana presided over the function. Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav as Chief Guest, and the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ashwani Kumar Choubey as Special Guest, graced the special occasion. It was a limited, but meaningful gathering. Children from school also participated. A few stalls of exhibition were also there. Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and Hero MotoCorp were on the most prominent spots from the entry point. Haryana State Biodiversity Board, Haryana Pond and Wastewater Management Authority, Maharashtra Bamboo Development Board from Nagpur were among others. Subscribe to read more

Disadvantage OSPCB

2nd February 2022

According to a 2019 UN report, sand and gravel resources are the second-largest resource extracted and traded by volume after water. The UN had expressed concern over the growing trend of untenable and illegal extraction in marine, coastal and freshwater ecosystems. Unsustainable sand extraction does not only impact the environment but can also have far-reaching social implications. Matter of Original Application No. 33/2020/EZ in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has paramount significance, in which the Applicant alleged illegalities and violations of pollution norms by sand mining operators in the Subarnarekha River in Odisha. And, the Applicant’s accusations were said to be justified as per report of a Joint Committee constituted by the NGT. Use of machines was not allowed to the sand miners. They were permitted only for manual mining.

One of the major aspects of the complaint was about the excess mining beyond the permissible limit and throughout day and night. Also, mining beyond the designated lease area. The NGT also observed in its order dated 2nd December 2020 that the most glaring illegality was to grant Consent to Operate (CTO) by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) Subscribe to read more

Tribute to India’s Iconic Tigress

19th January 2022

India is home to more than 70% of the world's tigers. As per latest estimates, tiger population in India stood at 2,967. Madhya Pradesh is house to maximum 526 tigers, followed by Karnataka’s 524. Tiger is our national and culture heritage and therefore revered by many Nationals as its National Animal.

Looking at the mortality rate of tigers, the number also stands maximum 202 in Madhya Pradesh between 2012 and 2020. Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh had lost 17 during the same period. But the loss of a tigress, last weekend, was enormous when one of the most famous tigers of our country, Collarwali, breathed her last in Pench Reserve. She had featured in BBC Wildlife documentary “Spy in the Jungle”.

On her demise, thousands of messages expressing profound grief surfaced in social media, including those from the Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan. BBC describes her as India's "Super Mom" tigress was no ordinary big cat. Legendary Tigress leaves a set incredible records. 2005 born Collarwali, in her 16+ years, played pivotal role in changing the fortunes of the Pench Tiger Reserve in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The same forests that are believed to have inspired Rudyard Kipling's classic - The Jungle Book. Collarwali is acclaimed for her contribution towards Tiger population in India. In May 2008, she delivered three cubs, her first litter. But none survived. Reportedly due to pneumonia. In 2010, Collarwali surprised everyone by delivering five cubs in a litter. She instantly gained popularity for this incredible record.

She gave birth to 29 cubs in 8 litters, out of which 25 survived, which is also reckoned as a world record. This glorifies Collarwali, also named as T-15, with her exceptional motherhood and caring.

Collarwali was born to T-1, also known as Charger, and T-7 alias Badi Mata, another famous tigress of Pench. She was the first-born of four cubs, and all of them were featured, along with the mother. According to some, Collarwali name came after she being first to be tied with a radio collar in 2008. It’s also said that her radio collar was replaced in 2010 after which she was known by the name Collarwali. Whatever be it, after establishing her own territory, Collarwali in the prime area of her mother's range, she rarely stepped out of it, and reigned there until her death. Survival and killing skills are highly important for any mother Tigress to raise her cubs properly, which T-15 had inherited from her mother. Many times she was spotted preying on Sambhar deer, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar and heavy herbivorous like Indian Gaur. The tigress was also famous for her Two-kills-a-day. Such master skills must have helped her to raise such a good number of cubs.

Apart of being a good killer, Collarwali was also a great mentor. She was reportedly seen teaching her cubs on making-a-kill techniques like sharpening of claws, patience, position to attack, when to attach and how to attack.

Collarwali was also popular for her boldness. It is said that before she was born, tiger sightings were rare at Pench. Wildlife Experts orates her to be so bold that she rarely disappointed Pench tourists and visitors. Every year, thousands of tourists head to the 51 tiger reserves dotted across India, hoping to catch a glimpse of the majestic animal. And Queen Collarwali never hesitated to walk out on the kaccha road when she heard jeeps coming, as if she wanted to be seen. Hence, she was also called her a tourist lover. Even on the day of her demise, more than 40 safaris were in Pench Reserve.

Colossal Tigress - in size, in fame, fondness and even fear, Collarwali was cremated with honour on Sunday in an open ground in Karamjhiri range of Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Pench National Park at the hands of Shanta Bai, a local tribal leader. Forest staff, naturalists and local villagers offered flowers and prayers. Important to note, most of the tiger deaths reported during 2012 – 2020 happened in December and January.

Though Collarwali passed away, she will continue to live in many hearts. As Mirae Assets mentions in their condolence message, “Her roars will always resonate in the forests of India. May her Tiger tribe continue to grow and flourish.”