31 Jul 2007, 0145 hrs IST, Nitin Sethi,TNN
NEW DELHI: After celebrating one of the highest recorded tiger densities in India this year, the high-profile Corbett Tiger Reserve is back in the news for all the wrong reasons.
The Uttarakhand government has built a cement road through the heart of the tiger reserve, along an alignment which the government had long expressed a desire to build a tarred road but is still being contested in the courts.
A petition had been filed in this regard before the centrally empowered committee of the Supreme Court on forestry issues.
The SC appointed CEC is now slated to make a spot assessment of the tiger reserve before it recommends further action to the apex court.
State forest officials admitted that mandatory permission from the chief wildlife warden or the director of the tiger reserve was not taken before building the road as required by the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The construction of the road is also not scheduled in the management plan which is mandated as compulsory to undertake any activity within a protected forest area.
However, state forest officials claimed that the road being a project ordered by the Uttarakhand government, it did not require any further clearances.
The state government has launched a multi-crore project to build roads through all forest areas in order to connect ‘fringe areas’ from where it claims Maoist activity has been reported.
But sources in the government told TOI that the quality of work was so bad that the newly-constructed road had given in to the monsoon showers in one portion, rendering even patrolling by the forest department difficult, which was being undertaken year-round previously even on the kutcha road.