Elephant corridors: SC says no states listening to Centre
New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Thursday told the Centre that "no state is listening to government of India", after it was told that that there were 27 critical elephant corridors which fall in 22 states, but 13 states only have filed any response on the issue.
When the Centre told the bench that the states were showing scant regard to it on the issue and the Supreme Court also, a bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta added "also to the Constitution of India".
The bench had earlier asked the Central government to come out with a solution to save elephants as it stressed on the need to have elephant corridors across the country to reduce the animal fatalities due to accidents and other reasons, but Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A.N.S. Nadkarni, who appeared for the Centre, told the bench in Thursday that 13 states have not responded despite Supreme Court's order.
Elephant corridors are narrow strips of land that allow elephants to move from one habitat patch to another.
As many states have not responded, the bench said it was a hopeless situation and asked the Centre whether it felt helpless.
"What is to be done? No state is listening to Government of India... It is hopeless. There has to be a solution of this. Is the Government of India helpless. Nobody listens to the Government of India," said Justice Lokur to Nadkarni.
"It is a crisis. If state governments will say we will do whatever we want and let the Government of India say anything, there will be a complete breakup of the system. It is an amazing situation."
Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Haryana, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan have not responded to the Centre on the issue of elephant corridors.
The court also said that no construction activity will be carried out in areas of Tamil Nadu where it was alleged that 400 hotels and resorts have come up on the elephant corridor areas.
The court asked the Collector of the Nilgiri area, where hotels and resorts have allegedly come up, to file a report on the issue and how these resorts can be identified, and when they were built and how.
The court now posted in August for hearing a batch of pleas relating to the issue of having elephant corridors across India.
Earlier, the Central government had told the apex court that a standing committee of the wildlife board would consider suggestions, including making 27 corridors across India for safe passage of elephants and other endangered animals
The petitions had referred to unnatural deaths of elephants on highways, railway tracks, by electrocution and have said that areas earmarked for these animals were not sufficient.