Madras High Court. photo: wikimedia.org
The Madras High Court has been informed that the Wildlife Forensic Laboratory (WFL) will become operational shortly in Tamil Nadu.
An assurance to this effect was given by the State top officials when a public interest writ petition came up before a Division Bench of Justices V Bharathidasan and N Satish Kumar on Tuesday.
Originally, the PIL was filed before the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court praying for a direction to the government to establish the lab in Tamil Nadu. According to the petitioner, there was no established forensic laboratory for research and conduct of DNA sequencing of wild animals and now the government was outsourcing DNA sequencing and other tests to other States.
When the matter came up on January 21, a counter affidavit was filed by Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and the Director of Advance Institute for Wildlife Conservation stating that the government had established an advance institute for wildlife conservation at Vandalur near Chennai in 2013 and the same was formerly inaugurated in 2017 and it started operations in 2019.
The lab was in the initial phase of setting up and handling DNA samples up to the level of sequencing and the sequencing part was being outsourced as they did not have the requisite equipment.
Considering the fact that for more than two years the lab was in operation and so far it was not fully equipped and appropriate personnel had not been appointed, the secretary to Environment, Climate Change and Forest Department was directed to appear before the court through video-conferencing and accordingly, Additional Chief Secretary Supriya Sahu and others appeared on Tuesday.
They stated the required machinery for the lab had been procured and only suitable scientific personnel to do all the testing needs to be appointed. Due to the pandemic, they were not in a position to appoint scientific personnel and now the government was taking steps to make appointments. The personnel would be appointed and the lab would become operational shortly, they assured the court.
Recording this, the Bench adjourned the matter till March 4.
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First Published: Jan 27 2022 | 2:21 AM IST