The National Green Tribunal has directed the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to file action-taken report over illegal felling of trees in the Corbett Tiger Reserve in Kalagarh Tiger Reserve Division in Uttarakhand.

The matter was earlier considered last year in light of report of DG FSI titled “Illegal felling of trees for the establishment of Pakhrau Tiger Safari, Uttarakhand”. To ascertain further facts and remedial action taken, the Tribunal constituted a three-Member Committee comprising DG, Forest Department, ADG, Wildlife Department and ADG, Project Tiger. It was directed that MoEF&CC may file an action taken report.

The National Green Tribunal in its Order dated April 17, 2023 noted that no report has been filed by the MoEF&CC.

“No report has been filed by the MoEF&CC but a copy of the report of the Committee has been filed, apart from copy of letter in response to the said report by the State of Uttarakhand addressed to the MoEF&CC.”, observed the NGT bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice Sudhir Agarwal, and Dr. A. Senthil Vel, Expert Member.

The NGT noted that the Committee report stated that not only cutting of trees was illegal but the process of restoration requires the construction made without approval of Central Government to be removed, whereas the Principal Secretary, Uttarakhand submitted that constructions do not require approval of the Central Government.

“Prima facie, it appears to be difficult to accept the stand of the Principal Secretary, Uttarakhand. However, we find that in terms of order dated 21.10.2022, MoEF&CC has to finalize its own perception in the matter and to file a report which has not been done”, NGT said.

Thus the NGT directed Secretary, MoEF&CC to file his action taken report in the matter.

“…we direct the Secretary, MoEF&CC to file his action taken report in the matter before the next date. The Secretary, Forest, Uttarakhand may also appear on the next date in person or through Video Conferencing to enable the Tribunal to pass further orders.”, NGT observed while posting the matter to July 19, 2023.

Cause Title- In re : news item published in the Newspaper The Hindu dated 02.10.2022 titled “Over 6,000 trees illegally cut for tiger safari project in Corbett Reserve, says FSI report”

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