NGT tells Centre to take note of animal deaths on highway in Uttarakhand

Published on Aug 10, 2018 09:30 PM IST

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday directed the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) and National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) to take cognisance of deaths of wild animals along Bareilly-Haridwar national highway due to vehicular traffic

A tusker died after being hit by Nanda Devi Express on February and another died in March this year in the state.(PTI File)
A tusker died after being hit by Nanda Devi Express on February and another died in March this year in the state.(PTI File)
Hindustan Times, Dehradun | ByNihi Sharma/Neeraj Santoshi

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday directed the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC) and National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) to take cognisance of deaths of wild animals along Bareilly-Haridwar national highway due to vehicular traffic.

The principal bench headed by NGT chairman Justice AK Goel while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Gaurav K Bansal directed the central government to take measures.

Report of Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was also attached with the PIL that highlighted how the buzzing traffic killed 222 wild animals of various taxa in 2016-17 within 30 km patch on NH 74 in Haridwar forest division.

“Besides the listed road kills by WII, in past 10 years, 27 leopards, a tiger, a black bear and various other wild species were found dead on the after getting hit by a speedy vehicle on the highway,” Bansal said.

Wild animals of 37 species were recorded to have died on the road during the study period. Mammals constitute 56.95%, birds 25.56% and amphibians 13.9%.

The PIL also mentioned that the institute had recommended construction of flyovers at three spots (Chandani bridge-Tedi Puliya, Peeli River to Rawasan River and Gendikhatta to Chidiapur) that falls within 5 km patch on the road-most sensitive to wildlife mortalities.

The 30 km section of the NH-74 runs between Chidiapur and Chandibridge and passes through three ranges-Chidiapur, Rasiabad and Shyampur of Haridwar forest division. Shyampur falls in the buffer of Rajaji Tiger Reserve.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand high court on Friday directed the ministry of railways to construct underpasses in the identified elephant corridors and ensure train speed of 25km/hr while passing through forest areas.

While hearing a public interest litigation of a non government organisation, a division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh ruled that union railway ministry and union road transport ministry be made parties in the case.

The HC also directed that authorities concerned should ensure satellite monitoring of elephant corridors, especially near the railway tracks so that the pachyderms do not get killed by speedy trains. The court also asked for an animal tracking system in place.

Of 340 elephants that died in 17 years in Uttarakhand after the state was carved out of Uttar Pradesh, 11 were killed after being hit by trains, with Nanda Devi Express being a major offender.

A tusker died after being hit by Nanda Devi Express on February and another died in March this year. Prior to that, the same train had killed two more elephants, one each in 2013 and 2016. Another elephant died after getting hit by a train in Lalkuan in Nainital district in March.

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