Rashid Paul

Report damages by transmission line to Hirpur Wildlife Sanctuary: HC to CWW

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Srinagar, Sep 11: The J&K high Court Tuesday directed the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) Kashmir to place before it the report on the damage caused to Hirpur Wildlife Sanctuary by the power transmission line passing through it.

Let the Chief Wildlife Warden as well as the petitioner place before this court report the damage to all concerns of the environment on account of the violation by a private company that constructed the transmission line, directed a division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur.

The court had asked the government and the company “not to carry out any act” that may directly or indirectly damage wildlife sanctuary in Shopian district of south Kashmir.

The sanctuary is home to Himalayan Brown Bear, Himalayan Black Bear, Musk Deer, Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, Himalayan Palm Civet and the critically endangered Pir Panjal Markhor, besides 130 bird species.

The petitioner alleges that the company entrusted with the laying of transmission line through the wildlife sanctuary has violated the norms.

The company was supposed to erect towers in the sanctuary manually so as to avoid damage to the flora and fauna of the protected area.

Instead it has used heavy machinery for the purpose, it said.

Today the court observed that the status report by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests reveals that the user agency has acknowledged violation of the law and that a penalty amount has been deposited by it with the J&K Wildlife Protection Department.

“In our view, merely deposit of a penalty amount can nowhere affect reparation for the ensuing damage to the environment which would have occurred on account of the violation,” said the bench.

The court asked the petitioner and the CWW to suggest measures necessary for restoration of the Wildlife Sanctuary and removal of the ill-effects of the omissions and commissions by the private company.

The report on these aspects be filed within two weeks from today, directed the court.

It further directed the CWW to inform the court as to whether the penalty amount would be sufficient to meet the costs of the restoration measures required to be undertaken in the sanctuary.

The PIL had sought an amount of Rs 2.46 crore to be levied on the company for the purpose.

The company had been assigned the project for laying 400 KV D/C Samba-Amargarh line, which is to provide power supply to Akhnoor, Rajouri, Poonch and Shopian.

The project had been carried out under the supervision of the Ministry of Power, Government of India.

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