The Uttarakhand High Court today issued various directions to the chief wildlife warden for protection of elephants and other wildlife, relocation of nomadic Van Gujjars living in protected forests and identification of elephant corridors.
To protect wild elephants who often meet with accidents along railway tracks, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lokpal Singh directed the forest department to identify elephant corridors, in consultation with the Railways, so that steps to avoid such mishaps could be taken.
After identification of such corridors, trenches and underpasses should be made within two months so that the elephants could be prevented from crossing the railway tracks, the court said, and added that the speed limit of trains while passing through such corridors be fixed at 25 kmph.
The Railway authorities, in consultation with the Forest Department, are directed to use modern wireless animal tracking systems to avoid deaths of helpless elephants on the railway tracks, the court said.
The court directed the state government to prescribe a maximum speed of 40 kmph for motorists on stretches of national highways and state highways that pass through national parks, sanctuaries, protected forests and reserved forests to avoid accidents.
The Ministry of Railways as well as the Forest Department are directed to use navigation satellites to track the movement of elephants, particularly in the immediate vicinity of railway tracks, within 12 weeks from today.
The court also directed the Forest department to relocate Van Gujjars, living in protected forests, describing them as a threat to wildlife, and asked the state government to apprise the court how soon this could be done.
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