The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to modify its action plan to remove obstruction to tiger corridors due to new road projects in Maharashtra, so that protection of the wildlife does not take “unduly long time”.
Making it clear that protection of wildlife cannot be ignored, the Tribunal asked the NTCA to reduce the action plan implementation period from the proposed seven years to three years.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said to ensure the safety of animals, the project proponents cannot be allowed unduly long time. It also said the “plan will be binding on the project proponents irrespective of their consent and may be enforced by halting the projects wherever necessary till the suggested measures are duly adopted.”
The NGT directed the Additional Director General (Wildlife), Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), to file a fresh status report before April 15 by e-mail and posted the matter for hearing on April 23.
The Tribunal had taken cognisance of a news report which claimed obstruction to tiger corridors due to new road projects in Maharashtra. The news report said necessary steps and precautions in such road projects for protection of the environment and wildlife were lacking.
On the issue of project expenditure, the Tribunal said it is not for the NGT to comment on the source of funding and this has to be worked out between the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the Maharashtra government.
The Ministry of Road Transport had expressed its inability to fund any additional expenditure over and above Rs 100.81 crore for the proposed mitigation structures, agreed earlier, and requested the Maharashtra government and the Chief Wildlife Warden for funding the expenditure towards mitigation measures proposed for the two roads viz. Mul-Chandrapur and Bamni-Navegaon.