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State seeks 15 days’ time for taking decision on raising Special Tiger Protection Force

The Uttarakhand government on Monday sought 15 days’ time from the high court for taking a decision on raising of Special Tiger Protection Force for protection of tigers in national parks of the state

dehradun Updated: Aug 06, 2018 22:37 IST
Neeraj Santoshi
Neeraj Santoshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
The state government told the high court that as an interim measure, ex-army personnel are being deployed for effective protection of the tigers.(HT Photo)

The Uttarakhand government on Monday sought 15 days’ time from the high court for taking a decision on raising of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) for protection of tigers in national parks of the state.

Stating this in the affidavit submitted before the HC by the chief secretary through his counsel, the state government also said “in the meantime, as an interim measure , ex-army personnel are being deployed within one month for effective protection of the tigers”.

On August 2, the HC directed the chief secretary to file supplementary affidavit by August 6 on a series of points including how soon the Special Tiger Protection Force will become functional to save the tigers living in National Parks of the state, including Jim Corbett National Park.

The court had made it clear that if no categorical assurance for the deployment of the Special Tiger Protection Force was given, it may be constrained to request the ministry of defence through secretary (defence), to deploy the Eco-Task Force to protect the tigers in the state.

The HC had noted: “It is unfortunate that though the Special Tiger Protection Force has been constituted on 13.5.2014 but till date, it has not been made functional.

“This year alone, more than 9 tigers have died in the State and number of elephants have died due to railway accidents and electrocution. The State cannot be a moot spectator. It is an alarming situation. Remedial measures are required to be taken at the earliest to save the wildlife from poachers.”

On February 29, 2008, finance minister during his budget speech had announced a grant of ₹50 crore to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) for raising, arming and deploying STPF in 13 sensitive tiger reserves of the country, including Corbett tiger reserve.

After this, in May 2012, a tiger poaching incident was reported from Savalde range of Corbett raising urgency of constituting the force.

CK Sharma, petitioner of the counsel in the case, said the HC was not satisfied with the affidavit of the chief secretary and directed him to again file a detailed affidavit on the points raised by it in its August 2 order

The directions were given a division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh while hearing the public interest litigation filed by Mayank Mainali, chairperson of the Ramnagar based NGO, Himalayan Yuva Gramin Vika Sanstha in 2012.

The petitioner had highlighted the environmental concerns in the wake of the construction of hotels, resorts and other properties around Corbett Tiger Reserve.

First Published: Aug 06, 2018 22:37 IST