| CEC Hearing on Encroachment
Inside Bhoramdeo Wildlife Sanctuary
5th June, 2003
Sanctuary was created in Chattisgarh in 2001. Early
this year, Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI)
received information that massive encroachment had occurred
inside this sanctuary. The matter was of special concern
since the Sanctuary area adjoins the buffer zone of
the world famous Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh,
and is an important corridor for wildlife.
The first hand information and photographs collected
by WPSI revealed a shocking scenario - thousands of
trees had been felled over the last six months for the
construction of a canal inside the sanctuary. A large
area had also been cleared for a dam that would divert
the waters of the Sakri River to villages outside the
Sanctuary. Villagers, instigated by the local political
establishment, carried out these activities.
On 19 May 2003, WPSI filed a complaint before the Central
Empowered Committee, which has been set up by the Supreme
Court of India to hear and speedily dispose of cases
relating to environmental issues. The first hearing
before the CEC was on 4 June 2003.
The CEC has taken serious note of the encroachment
inside Bhoramdeo. It has issued notices to all the respondents
in the case, including the District Magistrate, Principal
Secretary of Forests, Chattisgarh, and the Chief Secretary
of Chattisgarh, asking them to explain why conservation
laws and Supreme Court orders have been repeatedly violated
inside the Sanctuary. The CEC has also asked the Chattisgarh
Government to explain why a water source was being directed
away from a Sanctuary, without the permission of the
Forest Department as required by The Wild Life (Protection)
The counsel for the Ministry of Environment
and Forests, Mr. A. D. N. Rao, was quick in recognising
the seriousness of this issue and accepted a notice
asking the Ministry to be a party to the case.
The next date for hearing will be on 10 July 2003.