A plea highlighting human wildlife conflict and seeking rehabilitation of villagers living inside Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand on Monday led the National Green Tribunal to seek responses from the Centre and the state government.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Uttarakhand government, state environment and rural development ministry and others while seeking their reply before February 9 next year.
The green panel was hearing a plea filed by Uttarakhand resident Madan Singh Bisht seeking constitution of monitoring committee to look into the issue of rehabilitation of the revenue village ‘chaks’ (estates) which lie within the boundaries of the Rajaji National Park.
The plea contended that in 1983, MoEF and Uttarakhand government had issued a notification and formed Rajaji national park. However, there was no mention of revenue estates falling within the park.
The villagers then raised objections, following which some committees were constituted and after a few meetings some resolutions were adopted on taking necessary steps to exclude revenue chaks from the Rajajai National Park.
However till date, the authorities have not taken any decision regarding exclusion of the revenue chaks from the national park, the plea, filed through advocate Gaurav Bansal, said.
Bisht claimed that besides non-development of the area which falls within the national park, the villages were facing many difficulties as there was always a looming threat of life from wild animals.
“The Chief Conservator Forest wrote a letter to Satpal Maharaj, (then a) Member of Parliament from the region, about increase in human-wildlife clashes and said that rehabilitation was the only option available,” the plea said.
It sought the exclusion of all revenue village ‘chaks’ (estates) from the boundaries of the Rajaji National Park and provision of basic facilities to these chaks which are not excluded from boundaries of the National Park.