New Delhi, Apr 6 (PTI) Stressing on the need to have elephant corridors across the country to reduce animal fatalities due to accidents and other reasons, the Supreme Court today asked the Centre to come out with some “workable solution” in this regard The court noted that the population of elephants, which had declined drastically in southern states due to rampant poaching by notorious forest brigand Veerappan, had risen following his death but now they were being killed “due to other reasons”.
“You have to do something in this elephant corridor issue. You find out some solution,” a bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta told Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, who was representing the Centre.
“We cannot tell the elephants where they should go,” the bench observed, adding, “they must have a corridor”.
The bench referred to the incidents of elephants being run over by trains and said that this was not a matter where a judgement from the court was required to be delivered.
“Veerappan had almost killed all the elephants. He died and now things and number of elephants have improved. But elephants were now getting killed due to some other reasons. So you have to find out a solution,” the bench told the government.
It asked Nadkarni to submit a workable solution within 10 days and listed the matter for directions thereafter.
An advocate, assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter, told the bench that corridors for elephants have to be made.
The apex court was hearing a batch of pleas which have raised the issue of having elephant corridors across India.
On January 19, the Centre had informed another bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that a standing committee of the wildlife board would consider suggestions, including making 27 corridors across India for safe passage of elephants and other endangered animals, later in the month.
The petitioners in the case pending before the CJI-led bench had given suggestions, including a mechanism to curb human-animal conflict, measures to reduce animal deaths on the roads, highways and by electrocution and plan to protect critically-endangered Great Indian Bustard.
The petitioners had also referred to unnatural deaths of elephants on highways and railway tracks and have said that areas earmarked for these animals were not sufficient.
Regarding the suggestions pertaining to human-animal conflict and recovery plans for critically endangered Great Indian Bustard, the government had said in its earlier affidavit that an in-depth study has been prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change for the period 2017-2031.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.