Elephant corridors: Forest dept blames MoEF

Elephant corridors: Forest dept blames MoEF

Chief Wildlife Warden C Jayaram told DH that the department had already submitted its response to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on the actions taken by the department on securing the elephant corridors. (PTI File Photo)

Pulled up for non-submission of action plan for elephant corridors in state, the Karnataka Forest department has blamed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for not filing their response as an affidavit before the Supreme Court on July 12.

The apex court, while hearing a petition by A Rangarajan on the protection of 27 high-priority elephant corridors, had sought a report on the status of the corridors. During the hearing on July 12, the court noted that 19 states, including Karnataka, have not given any response to the Union government.

Chief Wildlife Warden C Jayaram told DH that the department had already submitted its response to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on the actions taken by the department on securing the elephant corridors.

"We had submitted it as a letter to the MoEF on May 17 and we assumed that they will file it in the court. But it was not included in the affidavit of the MoEF when they made a submission to the court. So, now we have written to the MoEF and to the court about it,” Chief Wildlife Warden C Jayaram told DH.

In the letter, the department said that they, along with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), have already secured the Edarahalli-Doddasampige elephant corridor in Karnataka by purchasing 25.37 acres of land in 2003. The land was transferred and registered in favour of the Forest department in 2009. This has now become a part of the Male Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary.

The letter also states that the department was working towards securing the 1.5 km-long Chamarajanagar-Talamalai elephant corridor, which connects Talavadi Range of Sathyamanagala Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, and Punjur Range of Biligiri Rangaswamy Tiger Reserve (BRT).

The department is also said to be in the process of securing 38 acres of land for the corridor between Muddahalli and Goramadu Doddi village to ensure proper connectivity between BRT and Sathyamanagala.

The need for securing corridors has gained importance because of hydel and power projects being proposed along the waterbodies. The elephant corridor connecting Nagarhole to Tamil Nadu via Bannerghatta and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary is crucial on account of its proximity to Bengaluru (Bannerghatta National Park) and tourism areas.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in 2018-19 budget announced to prepare a pre-feasibility study in Mekedatu. The proposed area falls under the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a part of the elephant corridor.

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