SC asks Uttarakhand to stop road work through Rajaji and Corbett reserves
A special bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepal Gupta stopped the construction work while asking the state to approach the Centre for obtaining the requisite approval under the Wildlife Protection Act.Updated: Jul 30, 2019 08:16 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Uttarakhand government to withdraw its order for the construction of a road through a corridor between the Rajaji and Corbett Tiger Reserves after it found the project did not have the Centre’s approval.
A special bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepal Gupta stopped the construction work while asking the state to approach the Centre for obtaining the requisite approval under the Wildlife Protection Act.
The order came on a plea seeking a stay on the construction of roads, bridge, and culverts along the Laldhang Chillarkhal road.
The state had maintained it did not intend to widen the road. “Not even an inch is being widened,” the state’s counsel (NAME) submitted (WHEN).
But a court-appointed panel’s report on Monday showed the widening of the road had taken place.
The court expressed displeasure that the work was apparently done despite the counsel’s statement. The counsel had assured that “no such thing would happen” upon receiving an instruction from a government official
“When a senior officer of the government is making a statement in the court, he should be aware of what he is saying,” the court said.
Lawyer A D N Roa referred to an earlier report of the panel and said the road falls within the buffer area of Rajaji Tiger Reserve. He added the advice of the National Tiger Conservation Authority was not taken while allowing the construction.
The top court had on June 21 stayed the road construction noting that there were “numerous” violations of the Forest Conservation Act.
According to the panel’s report, the road was being constructed without statutory approval of National Board for Wildlife and in violation of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and the Forest Conservation Act.