HC pulls up officials for irresponsible stance
Expressing dissatisfaction at the affidavit submitted by the additional chief secretary (ACS) on behalf of the chief secretary (CS) in the high court regarding the safety of tigers and other wildlife in Corbett, Rajaji and other national parks, the high court has directed the ACS and chief wildlife warden to appear in the court on Friday. The division bench of acting chief justice Rajeev Sharma and justice Lok Pal Singh observed that the affidavit presented orders passed in the past in a distorted manner. Hearing on a public interest litigation filed by Ramnagar-based Himalayan Gramin Yuva Sanstha, on August 2, the HC had asked the CS to file an affidavit explaining how many Van Gujjar families were living in national parks, details of the plan to relocate them and by when would the special tiger protection force start functioning. The court had also asked how many vehicles are permitted to ferry visitors in the six zones of Corbett. The HC was not satisfied with the affidavit submitted on August 6.
The second affidavit submitted on Thursday too was found to be unsatisfactory due to the manner in which answers were presented in it. While 20 vehicles were allowed to ply in each of Corbett’s six zones, the affidavit stated that 100 vehicles each were plying. Paragraphs in the affidavit cite attached record but the same was not made available. Expressing dissatisfaction at such irresponsible attitude of the senior officials concerned, the HC has directed the ACS and chief wildlife warden to appear in the court on Friday and present clarification on the orders passed in the past.
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