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Elephant Corridors in Northern Bengal and Central India are getting quite constricted.   | Photo Credit: Wildlife Trust of India

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to consider declaring all elephant corridors in the country as eco-sensitive zones.

Following a plea that sought legal recognition to the elephant reserves and corridors in the state of Assam, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “After hearing the matter for some time, it was noted by us that issue of elephant corridors have been raised by different applicants and various judgments have also been passed by the Tribunal. Therefore, we direct MoEF&CC to look into this aspect in a broader perspective and also to have a permanent solution.”

The bench further added, “We would like the Ministry to look in to the issue by declaring all elephant corridors all over the country as eco sensitive zones by exercising its power (under relevant Acts.) We give two weeks time to the Ministry to look into the issue and to proceed in the matter for declaration of such areas as eco sensitive zones.”

The observations came while the green panel was hearing a plea moved by Assam resident Pradip Kumar Bhuyan, that highlighted the increasing number of unnatural elephant deaths taking place in the state.

“It is the case of the applicants that it is the complete lack of legal protection to elephant corridors and elephant reserves that has led to a large number of deaths in areas beyond the protected areas and for which the applicants have sought intervention from the tribunal” read the petition.

The petition further said, “Owing to the increased denudation and loss of their forest habitats, elephants have come increasingly into conflicts with humans and faced deliberate retaliatory killings and accidents at railway crossings, high tension power lines, power fences and trenches.”

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