Saturday, February 06, 2021

Jolly Grant airport: Centre asks U’khand to revisit proposal regarding non-forestry use of forest land

Dehradun: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has asked the Uttarakhand government to revisit its proposal regarding non-forestry use of 87 hectares (ha) of forest land in Dehradun for the expansion of Jolly Grant airport.

The move comes in the wake of Uttarakhand High Court’s observations pertaining to conservation of wildlife and fragmentation of the forest area serving as a link for movement for wildlife species.

In its January 11 order, the High Court stayed implementation of the state government’s January 8 notification to denotify Shivalik Elephant Reserve.

A bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari observed, “Lastly, if, the notification were permitted to operate and, in case, the proposed area is diverted for the purpose of expansion of the Airport, an irrevocable loss would be caused, both to the environment, and to the elephant population.”

In a letter to Uttarakhand forest department dated January 30, Charan Jeet Singh, Scientist ‘D’ in Forest Conservation Division of the Union Ministry stated, “Recently, Hon’ble High Court of Uttarakhand has made crucial observation in respect of wildlife values of the area. The State Government may, therefore, re-visit the proposal in light of observations contained in the Hon’ble High Court of Uttarakhand at Nainital order dated 11.01.2021, specially with reference to issues pertaining to the conservation and protection of wildlife and fragmentation of the forest area serving as connecting link for intermittent or stray movement for charismatic wildlife species of the State,”

When contacted, Singh said the state has been asked to revisit the proposal and address the observations.

06/02/21 Lalmani Verma/Indian Express

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