The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today sought the Centre's response on a plea for protection of National Chambal Sanctuary and its endangered species from sand mining and other activities.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also issued notice to Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh governments seeking their responses by September 24 on the petition by NGO, Tiger Protection Group, which has sought prevention of activities like stone quarrying, sand mining and fishing, from going on in and around the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is a tri-state protected area for the critically endangered gharial (small crocodiles), the red-crowned roof turtle and the endangered Ganges river dolphin, the petition said, adding that these species are under threat due to the fishing, sand mining etc going on there.
The petition said sand mining is contributing to destruction of the gharial's habitat as the sand-banks are absolutely essential for its nesting purposes.
The NGO sought directions to the Centre and the three states to "ensure complete, permanent and absolute prevention of sand mining, stone quarrying, fishing and agricultural activities in the National Chambal Sanctuary".
It submitted that the habitat of the gharial and other endangered aquatic animals is being disturbed by the farming practices of the nearby villages along the Chambal river.
The NGO also alleged that illegal fishing is taking place in the sanctuary and contended that it is the most significant and direct threat to the gharial as well as other aquatic animals, as the nets cast by fishermen entangles these protected species which drown as a result.
It also sought issuance of appropriate orders "for ensuring a clear and coherent method of determining populations and preserving the eco systems so that the rich and diverse variety of flora and fauna in the National Chambal Sanctuary do not become extinct on account of failure of the respondents to perform their obligations".