Uttarakhand News

If state government can’t protect tigers, shall we ask Army: Uttarakhand HC

Uttarakhand high court, on Thursday, took a strict stand on the increasing death of tigers in the state and warned the government for lack of seriousness on their part. The high court warned that if no categorical assurance for the deployment of Special Tiger Protection Force is given, the court may have to ask defence ministry to deploy Eco Task Force to protect tigers in Corbett Tiger Reserve.

The Nainital high court was extremely critical of the state government for not deploying Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) even though it was constituted on May 13, 2014 but was never made functional. The divisional bench comprising of justices Lok Pal Singh and Rajiv Sharma observed that more than nine tigers have died in the state along with number of elephants due to railway accidents and electrocution. The state government cannot be a moot spectator to this.

The court emphasized the urgent need to take remedial measures to save the wildlife from poachers and also shift/relocate van gujjars from the forest areas. It is also the need of the hour to keep criminal tribes at bay from the vicinity of national parks to protect the wildlife.

Key points raised by Uttarakhand High Court

  • How many van gujjar families are still residing in national parks of Uttarakhand including Corbett Tiger reserve?
  • How soon they (van gujjars) would be evicted/relocated?
  • When the Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) will become functional?
  • Whether the cases filed against poachers under the relevant provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 have been decided by the forest officers? Provide year-wise details of the pending cases.
  • What effective measures and meaningful steps have been taken to keep at bay the gangs of Gopi, Balko, Babariya and Gama gujjars from the national parks?

The court have directed the chief secretary (Uttarakhand) to submit supplementary affidavits regarding the above mentioned points by Friday.

Inputs from Times of India, original report by Vineet Upadhyay