Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the State government to make a “positive statement” regarding declaring Dodamarg-Sawantwadi corridor as an ecologically sensitive area (ESA).
The HC was hearing an interim application filed in a pending public interest litigation (PIL) by NGO Vanashakti in this regard.
According to the application, on Sept 20, 2013, the HC in its order, recorded statements of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Maharashtra government that the wildlife corridor deserves to be protected. The MoEF and government were directed to hold a meeting “for sorting out procedural modalities and formalities to facilitate the declaration”.
Advocates for the NGO – Gayatri Singh and Zaman Ali – said that the MoEF and the government carried out preliminary analysis. The HC has been passing orders since 2013. However, the government has not taken concrete steps for the same. The MoEF says it is up to the State Government to give the proposal for declaration of ESA. “The state says ‘we are in the process’. Meanwhile trees are being cut,” said Mr Singh.
An advocate appearing for one of the villages in Dodamarg said that there was no tree cutting and on the contrary, the plantations were growing. The judges asked Mr Singh if the NGO has come across “specific instances” of felling of trees.
The bench also asked the advocate for the government as to what has been done and said it was “high time some positive decision” is taken one way or the other.
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