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Issue notification on Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary boundary in 6 months: NGT to govt

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
Protection of wildlife species in Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary is not possible unless it is kept free of human interference, NGT said Friday and directed the central and the Uttar Pradesh governments to issue notification specifying the habitat's boundary within six months.
Inordinate delay in the notification under Section 26 (A) of the Wildlife Protection Act is unacceptable and because of this reason a large number of industries are flourishing within the sanctuary adversely affecting various wildlife species, it said.
There are umpteen orders passed by the Supreme Court that no industry can be allowed within a wildlife sanctuary, the tribunal noted.
A bench comprising Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore and expert member S S Garbyal said that despite a number of projects or schemes undertaken by the state government for protection and conservation of the wildlife species and the habitat of the sanctuary, there have not been desired results.
"And none of these interventions will yield stated objectives until and unless habitats within the sanctuary are kept free of any anthropogenic interference. In fact, the measure of success of any management intervention in a protected area is the extent to which we have been able to create habitat which is pristine and free of human interference.
"Even though, we are satisfied that State Forest Department has taken necessary steps for the conservation and protection of the wildlife species & habitat and the biological diversity of the area, in accordance with Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and Biological Diversity Act, 2002, these measures will not be 17 effective until or unless notification under Section 26 (A) is issued," the tribunal said and directed issuance of notification by November 30.
The tribunal's judgement came on a plea by advocate Gaurav Bansal alleging threat to wildlife especially to the swamp deer due to human intervention in the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary and seeking protection and restitution of the biodiversity and ecosystem of the sanctuary.
Bansal, in its petition had stated that recently the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has done a survey of the sanctuary which found that wildlife including swamp deer is fighting for its existence.
According to the plea, WII in its report has also stated that due to high human presence and forest fire, endangered species like swamp deer, hog deer and Gangetic grasslands were facing difficulties in survival.
"The applicant has learnt from the red list of threatened species generated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural resources published on January 10, 2015 that the population of swamp deer (Barasingha) is assessed as vulnerable because the estimated total population lies between 3,500 and 5,100 animals and also its protection status is not secure.
"It is pertinent to mention here that the report generated revealed the important fact that the species of swamp deer is assumed to decline by at least 10 per cent over 24 years due to habitat conversion and degradation," the plea had said.
Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 2,073 sq km along the banks of Ganga in five forest divisions --Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Meerut, Hapur and Amroha.

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First Published: May 31 2019 | 4:35 PM IST

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