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Elephant corridors: Is the govt "helpless", asks SC

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

With several states not responding to its order on creating corridors to check animal deaths and curb human-animal conflict, the today said it was a "hopeless" situation and asked the Centre whether it felt "helpless".

A bench of Justices and was informed by the Centre that there were 27 "critical" corridors falling in 22 states, but despite the top court's directions, 13 of these states have not responded to the government on the matter.

"What is to be done? No state is listening to Yesterday, we had the same problem, today we have the same problem. It is hopeless. There has to be a solution of this. Is the helpless," the bench asked (ASG) A N S Nadkarni, who appeared for the Centre.

"Nobody listens to the Government of India," the bench said.

Nadkarni, while referring to the apex court's April 23 order directing 19 states to file their responses within four weeks, said "this time also to the The order was of the Supreme Court".

When the ASG said that the states were showing scant regard to the and the also, the bench said, "also to the Constitution of India".

"It is a crisis. If state governments will say we will do whatever we want and let the say anything, there will be a complete breakup of the system. It is an amazing situation," the bench, which was hearing a batch of pleas which have raised the issue of having corridors across India, said.

At the outset, Nadkarni referred to the April 23 order of the apex court and said that out of the 22 states, three states -- Kerala, and -- had responded earlier while five others have also given their responses to the Centre.

He said there were incidents of elephant deaths in rail or road accidents or by electrocution.

The appearing for said they have also given their response to the Centre on the issue.

The bench noted in its order that 13 states, including Uttarakhand, Odisha, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and have not responded to the Centre on the issue of elephant corridors.

"This shows the respect these states have to the direction of this court as well as to the Union of India," the bench said.

During the hearing, one of the alleged that 400 hotels and resorts have come up on the elephant corridor areas in

The bench made it clear that no construction activity would be carried out in these areas in and asked the of the Nilgiri area, where hotels and resorts have allegedly come up, to file a report in this regard.

It asked the to also apprise the court as to how these establishments can be identified, when they were built and how.

The also told the court that around 18,000 elephants come to during the monsoon season and the court should direct that the power connection to these resorts and hotels should be snapped.

"We want a plan of action first," the bench said, adding, "the plan of action should be with respect to the elephant corridors".

The owners of some of these hotels and resorts have also filed appeals in the apex court against a order against them in this regard.

The bench said these issues would be heard in August.

Another said that activities were going on in elephant corridor areas in

The apex court had earlier said it was "extremely unfortunate" that several states have not responded to two communications sent by the Centre on the issue of elephant corridors to curb human-animal conflict and reduce animal fatalities.

The Centre had told the court that a committee has already been formed to consider the suggestions, including making corridors across India for safe passage of elephants and other endangered animals.

The apex court had earlier stressed on the need to have elephant corridors across the county to reduce animal fatalities due to accidents and other reasons and had asked the Centre to come out with some "workable solution" in this regard.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 12 2018. 20:00 IST