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Jagatpur in north east Delhi may house city’s last six elephants

Owners of six of Delhi’s seven remaining elephants told the high court they had identified a plot of land in Jagatpur near Wazirabad where the animals could be shifted.

delhi Updated: Jul 19, 2018 15:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,Delhi elephants,Jagatpur area of Delhi
Delhi’s forest department had issued the elephant owners an ultimatum last week to surrender their elephants failing which the animals would be seized.(Arun Sharma/HT File Photo)

The Delhi high court has directed the state forest department to inspect a plot of land in Delhi’s Jagatpur area where owners of six of the city’s seven remaining elephants have proposed to shift with the animals.

The state forest department had issued the elephant owners an ultimatum last week to surrender their elephants failing which the animals would be seized. But the owners had moved court saying that they had identified a plot of land in Jagatpur near Wazirabad in north east Delhi where the animals could be shifted.

“The court on Wednesday directed the forest department to inspect a plot of land proposed by the elephant owners. The forest department would have to submit a report within the next one week,” said Vipin Sanduja, the advocate representing the elephant owners.

Sanduja said the case was disposed of as the forest department has been directed to seize the elephants if, after inspection of the land at Jagatpur, officials find that the place is not suitable for shifting the elephants.

At present, there are seven elephants in Delhi. While plans are afoot to send six elephants out of Delhi, the one that belongs to Vivek Chand Burman, chairman emeritus of Dabur India Ltd, has been spared.

“We have already got the necessary permission to shift two elephants to Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand. Talks are being held with the Haryana government to shift the other four elephants. We had given the elephant owners an ultimatum but they moved court,” said Ishwar Singh, additional principal chief conservator of forest.

Acting on the orders of the Delhi high court, the forest department had set up a committee in 2017, which had inspected all the seven domestic elephants in Delhi.

The committee, which comprised senior forest officials, a veterinarian and representative from the Central Zoo Authority, had given an adverse report against the six elephants in June 2017. The forest department had later asked the owners to shift out of Delhi, which the owners failed to do.

“The main allegations against the owners of the six elephants, which are kept at Sangam Vihar in Wazirabad, are that the animals were kept in a very crowded place in unhygienic conditions and they are not maintained properly. Their proximity to humans could lead to conflicts and zoonotic diseases,” said a senior forest official, who is not authorised to comment.

First Published: Jul 19, 2018 15:25 IST