Hours after Uttarakhand HC stay, state govt issues order to go ahead with denotification of Shivalik Elephant Reserve . . . The Times of India January 10, 2021
See link https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/hours-after-uttarakhand-hc-stay-state-govt-issues-order-to-go-ahead-with-denotification-of-shivalik-elephant-reserve-forest-minister-says-its-a-coincidence-will-challenge-stay-in-apex-court/articleshowprint/80191326.cms for photo.
Dehradun: The state government on Friday night issued a government order denotifying the Shivalik Elephant Reserve, the Himalayan state’s only elephant reserve. Incidentally, the denotification order was issued barely hours after the high court had stayed the denotification and issued notices to the Centre, state, state biodiversity board, state wildlife board as well as chief wildlife warden.
Forest minister Harak Singh Rawat said that the state government has geared up to challenge the stay. “We will fight against the stay and respond to the suo motu notice taken by the high court earlier. Elephant reserve is not a legal entity and therefore, there should be no legalities around it,” added Rawat.
When queried on how the government can go ahead with the denotification order when it has been stayed by the HC, Harak Rawat said, “It is correct that our government order came after the high court’s stay but we were not aware that there is any kind of stay. Our denotification was already approved in November itself. The releasing of government order was a formality which was under process. This is purely a co-incidence.”
Meanwhile, Doon-based conservation activist, Reenu Paul, on whose PIL the stay order had been passed by the HC, refused to comment on the matter.
The move to denotify the elephant reserve had sparked widespread protests amongst green activists. The move came soon after TOI had highlighted in October last year that the state government plans to fell around 10,000 trees of Shivalik Elephant Reserve for the expansion of Dehradun airport.
After the issue gained traction, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had also written to the state government, suggesting that the use of land of the reserve should be avoided as it is of ‘high conservation value.’
The state government had responded that suitable alternate land is not available and had pressed for the need for expansion of the airport citing strategic reasons and for rescue and rehabilitation works in the future.