Expeditiously settling forest rights of STs in Mhadei sanctuary, Goa tells HC | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Expeditiously settling forest rights of STs in Mhadei sanctuary, Goa tells HC

Jun 13, 2024 05:10 PM IST

The high court is hearing a contempt petition over the government’s failure to declare the Mhadei wildlife sanctuary as a tiger reserve

PANAJI: The Goa government on Monday told the Bombay high court at Goa that it was in the process of determining and settling the claims of the Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers staying within the Mhadei and surrounding wildlife sanctuaries “as expeditiously as possible.”

Goa forest minister and Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane has been opposed to the tiger reserve (FILE PHOTO)
Goa forest minister and Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane has been opposed to the tiger reserve (FILE PHOTO)

The high court is hearing a contempt petition filed by the Goa Foundation, over the government’s failure to declare the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounding protected areas as a tiger reserve as recommended by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

On Monday, the high court took on record an assurance by Goa advocate general Devidas Pangam

that “steps are being taken to comply with the order of for determining and settling the rights and claims of the Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers following the law as expeditiously as possible.”

In its ruling on July 24 last year, the high court ruled that the state government had to implement the NTCA recommendations under the Wildlife Protection Act. “The state government was bound to notify Mhadei WLS and other areas as a tiger reserve, given the recommendations of the NTCA on this issue,” the high court said.

Goa forest minister and Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane has been opposed to the tiger reserve and the government challenged the high court order in the Supreme Court. The top court hasn’t stayed the high court ruling.

The plea to declare the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve emerged after the death of a tigress and her three cubs allegedly after they consumed the poisoned meat of a buffalo. Four persons were arrested in this connection.

The state government opposed the move claiming that while it was “not opposed to notifying the area as a tiger reserve… the time was not right to make such a declaration…and that further studies were necessary, and the rights of the forest dwellers also needed to be settled entirely before such steps could be taken.”

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