NGT seeks status report on elephant corridors in Odisha (Bhubaneswar, India)


Hemanta Pradhanl, Times of India

Date Published

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday asked the Odisha
government to submit status report on elephant corridors and also
sought the list of encroachers of forest land in the state. The state
government was directed to file the status report along with the list
of encroachers before the tribunal by October 20.

While hearing a petition filed by the Wildlife Society of Orissa
(WSO), the NGT on Thursday sought a status report on notification of
elephant corridors in Odisha, said petitioner’s lawyer Sankar Prasad

WSO secretary Dr Biswajit Mohanty said the state government had
identified 14 elephant corridors which needed to be protected under
law by notifying them under section 3 of the Environment (Protection)
Act, 1986. The corridors have been mapped and described by the Chief
Wildlife Warden and the proposals are lying with the state government
since four years, he added.

Though the state government had spent Rs 20.08 crore during the last
five years on management and habitat improvement of these 14
corridors, there was no effort to issue the notification pending since
2012, said the petitioner to the tribunal.

In the second case, the petitioner prayed the tribunal for eviction of
encroachers and restoration of 37,482.935 Ha of forest land in 39
forest and wildlife divisions of the state.

Petitioner’s lawyer Pani pointed out that how forest land had been
encroached all over the state in violation of provisions of section 2
of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 as well as orders of the
Supreme Court of India passed in the T N Godavarman case which
prohibited use of forest land without approval from the Centre.

The petitioner said that no action has been taken despite the forest
department and the revenue department being aware of illegal diversion
of forest land and the impact of encroachment on local wildlife and
flora. It also prayed that prosecution should be launched under the FC
Act, 1980 and FC Rules, 1980 against officials of the state government
for allowing illegal diversion of forest land.