Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (September 3, 2019)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal     

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 03 September 2019

Deforestation at Pakke Tiger Reserve

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on August 30, 2019 gave directions to Arunachal Pradesh government to identify the hot spots, where illegal felling of trees and deforestation are taking place in state and draw an action plan to combat the issue.

The tribunal was told about indiscriminate felling of trees in reserved forest area, part of Papum Reserved Forest and Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh and even though the government authorities were aware of the fact, no effective action was taken. Such large scale felling could create man-animal conflict threatening the survival of tigers in the area. The forests were also sites for hornbill breeding and nesting, the application said.

Taking cognizance of the matter, the NGT had directed the divisional forest officer at Khellong Forest Division and director of Pakke Tiger Reserve in Cicigusa to conduct a joint inspection of the area and submit a report.

Although efforts were being made, limited manpower and threats from the mafia and the miscreants involved in the illegal timber trade was acting a deterrent, revealed the report.

“Considering the size of the state and the huge tract of forest land that plays the role of carbon sink and considered as lung of the country, the state shall consider enhancing the strength of the forest personnel (at all levels including lower level) adequately which may include revisiting the existing forest divisions and ranges in order to ensure effective enforcement of the forest laws and protection of the rich forest resources in the state,” read the order.

The tribunal also directs the formation of a high level committee headed by the chief secretary of the state to put into action the directions of the court and submit a compliance report.

Assessment of parking lots  

While granting permission to build any structures, proper assessment of the parking needs and the requisite parking facilities for the next 25 years should be taken into consideration, the Supreme Court on September 2 told the Delhi government.

There has been an “abject failure on the part of the government and the authorities to provide adequate public transport to the citizens of the country,” the top court said.

It added that “individual vehicles are owned by about 2 per cent of the population”, who “wants to monopolise all the resources and infrastructure with regard to transportation” the SC noted.

Further, the SC also ordered the municipal corporations in the national capital to ensure the pavements are cleared of all encroachments.

Forest encroachment West Bengal

The NGT on August 30 directed the constitution of a committee to inspect Jhargram area in West Midnapur district of West Bengal for encroachments on forest land.

One Subhas Datta, in an application, told NGT against the proposed construction of a medical college hospital in Jhargram in a forest land measuring about 20 hectares. The area is a nursery established and run by the Silvi-South Division of forest department where several species of Sal, Acacias, Neem are being grown on experimental basis.

Kadamkanan, another area in Jhargram, that fall within the same forest area has been illegally occupied by felling dense Sal jungle for construction of police line, Datta told NGT.

The consequence of such large scale deforestation was stated to be deleterious to the existence of underground aquifer that gets recharged through natural process and the entire area was likely to be rendered inhabitable.

The committee would comprise of the district magistrate and divisional forest officer of Jhargram District, the State Pollution Control Board and the senior officer from the Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Eastern Zone to jointly inspect the areas, verify on the factual aspects set out in the application and submit a report.




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