Uttarakhand HC Directed Center to Declare Elephant Corridors in Jim Corbett National Park as ‘Eco-Sensitive Zones’

Elephant Law Insider

Priya Gour

2nd September, 2022 at 18:14 18:19 IST

Recently, the Uttarakhand High Court bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe has issued directions to the Central Government to consider declaring the elephant corridors in the Jim Corbett National Park/Ramnagar Forest as ‘Eco-sensitive zones‘ under the Environment Protection Act.

The bench has also directed the state and central governments to not allow any activity for construction in the corridor areas.

A PIL was moved by the Independent Medical Initiative Society for the conservation of the Elephant Corridors near Corbett National Park, namely, Malani-Kota, Chilkiya-Kota, and South Patlidun-Chilkiya.

The need for preserving these corridors was highlighted and safeguarding the natural movement of wild elephants using the said elephant corridors was also highlighted. The areas of their habitat have been subjected to encroachment by construction in the Kosi River area.

The natural movement of elephants, which is a nomadic breed and must move from one place to another in search of food and water, has been obstructed,” The court agreed to the submission.

The Counsel for the petitioners submitted that due to the construction of the road as well as the resorts along with the river, the movement of the elephants had been obstructed and there have been numerous instances where man and elephant conflict has taken place.

They mostly prefer crossing the corridor at night as the whole day there is heavy traffic in Ramnagar Mohaan Road. The case of Hospitality Association of Mudumalai versus In Defence of Environment and Animals and 2 others etc. was cited by the apex court, where the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the Tamil Nadu government notification declaring an ‘Elephant Corridor‘ in the Sigur Plateau of Nilgiris District.

Keeping the abovementioned arguments in view, the Court issued the following directions:

  • The validity of the Tamil Nadu government notification declaring an ‘Elephant Corridor’ in the Sigur Plateau of Nilgiris District was upheld by the court.
  • There must be competent and sufficient staff on either side of the elephant corridors during the night hours between 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM.
  • Stop all the construction work which will cut across the identified elephant corridors without providing adequate infrastructure.
  • Not to use chilli powder to prevent the movement of elephants in their corridors. The said direction shall continue and the respondents are also restrained from using any other obstructive methods to prevent the movement of wild elephants in the corridors by using gunshots and electric fences.

Thereby the court has listed the matter for September 22, and obedience to the above guidelines till then.

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