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NGT notice to Centre, Uttarakhand on disease ailing blue sheep

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Uttarakand government on the ‘unknown disease’ ailing blue sheep of Gangotri National Park

dehradun Updated: Dec 22, 2017 20:26 IST
Nihi Sharma
Nihi Sharma
Hindustan Times
Uttarakhand News,blue sheep,NGT
A search team had found a carcass of a sheep during trekking at Kedar Tal.(HT Photo)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Uttarakand government on the ‘unknown disease’ ailing blue sheep of Gangotri National Park.

On Thursday evening, a bench headed by NGT chairperson UD Salvi gave a three-week deadline for the parties to respond after it heard the petition of advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal who filed his application about a fortnight ago.

The disease affecting ‘Bharals’ (local name of blue sheep) came in focus after mountaineer Loveraj Singh Dharamsaktu alerted chief wildlife warden Digvijay Singh Khati on September 9. Blue sheep in Kedar Tal were suffering from a strange disease leading to blindness, he informed.

A team was sent to the park and it brought back an ailing lamb that later died. Samples were sent to Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly but the test reported the lamb died of lung infection. The episode gained more following after Dharamsaktu complained about ‘lackadaisical’ approach of the forest department.

Another team comprising forest staff, members of Uttarkashi-based Nehru Institute of Mountaineering and porters were again sent to Kedar Tal in first week of December. Though the team didn’t find any diseased sheep during three-day trek, it found carcass of a sheep. Samples were again sent to IVRI. But the institute was unable to do any test as the samples were decayed.

“Dharamsaktu approached me following which I filed an application before the tribunal,” Bansal told Hindustan Times.

The forest department doesn’t deny the presence of the disease but claim it is helpless. “Twice, we sent our team to Kedar Tal. We did found one ailing lab in the first expedition, but even IVRI couldn’t confirm about the disease. The area is now covered with snow and wild animals have moved to lower Himalayas,” Khati said.

But Dharamsaktu insisted the forest department was ‘careless’ in its approach. The forest staff don’t patrol rigorously in the area where the infection persists and, therefore, it could not spot any diseased sheep,” he said.

First Published: Dec 22, 2017 20:26 IST