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‘Public Trust In Waste Bin’: SC Raps Uttarakhand Over Illegal Structures, Felling Of Trees In Corbett Tiger Reserve – News18

The court allowed safari tours in the buffer zone of the popular national park, citing the employment it may generate. (File photo)

The court slammed the Uttarakhand government for illegal construction and felling of trees at the Corbett Tiger Reserve

The Supreme Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Uttarakhand government over the felling of trees and illegal construction in the Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve.

The Supreme Court asked the Centre to form a committee that will suggest ways to undo the damage and recover the cost from those responsible.

“Bureaucrats and politicians have thrown public trust doctrine in the waste bin,” the court said.

The bench of Justice BR Gavai, Justice PK Mishra, and Justice Sandeep Mehta was hearing a petition by environment activist and lawyer Gaurav Bansal. Mr Bansal had challenged the Uttarakhand government’s proposal for a tiger safari and a zoo with caged animals inside the national park.

The bench began by citing a quote from the epic Mahabharata, which means that a forest protects the tiger and the tiger protects the forest. The court said tiger safari in the core areas of the national park will be contrary to the provisions of tiger conservation.

The court, however, allowed safari tours in the buffer zone of the popular national park, citing the employment it may generate. The court said such safari tours should follow the necessary guidelines.

According to reports as many as 6,000 trees were felled in the national park, visited by thousands every year. The court slammed former state minister Harak Singh Rawat and former divisional forest officer Kishan Chand and said, “They have, in blatant disregard of the law and for commercial purposes, indulged in mass felling of trees to construct buildings on the pretext of promotion of tourism,” the bench said, adding that it was “amazed at the audacity” in giving rules a go-by.

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