Supreme Court Protects Corbett Tiger Reserve
25 November 2005
A Division Bench of the Supreme Court of India presided by Chief Justice
Y.K. Sabherwal delivered a judgement that will ensure that the Corbett
Tiger reserve will not be bifurcated by a proposed new highway in the
state of Uttaranchal (UA). The Court’s decision, besides protecting the
sanctity of one of India’s most important tiger reserves, will help put
several small towns on the highway network.
The Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) had intervened in the
case in 2001 to protest against a road that would have cut through
Corbett Tiger Reserve. Instead, it was suggested that the road could take
a detour South, through the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
Four years and many dramatic twists and turns later, in July 2005, UP and
UA finally decided on a road alignment that suited both. In August
2005 WPSI was part of a team that included the Director, Project Tiger
and the Forest Department representatives from the areas of UA and UP
that the new road would go through. The team checked that the road would
not harm the Corbett Tiger Reserve, disturb elephant movement and that it
would connect nearby towns and villages.
Today UA and Project Tiger filed affidavits on the results of the survey,
which was signed by all participants, including WPSI and the Corbett
Foundation. Based on the affidavits the Court has allowed construction of
the road provided that all environmental and wildlife safeguards proposed
earlier by the Ministry of environment and Forests are followed.