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CEC Hearing on Encroachment Inside Bhoramdeo Wildlife Sanctuary

5th June, 2003

Bhoramdeo Wildlife 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) Act.

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.


 

 

 

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