March 22, 2023

SC seeks response from Centre, 17 states on 741 elephant electrocution between 2009-2020 | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought responses from the Centre and 17 states on a PIL accusing the governments of pushing the asiatic elephant towards extinction because of their apathy in taking minimum required protective steps, resulting in electrocution of as many as 741 of them in the last 11 years.
After hearing counsel Kartik N Shukul for three petitioners, led by P S Bindra, a bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli issued notices to the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change, the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal and Central Electricity Authority (CEA).
The PIL petitioners said the respondents have turned a blind eye to the ‘Gajah’ report of 2010, which recommended constitution of national elephant conservation authority on the lines of National Tiger Conservation Authority and grant of appropriate funds related to efforts of elephant protection and conservation.
It said though the ‘Gajah’ report detailed the advantages of having NECA, the MoEF have completely ignored the said report, failing to implement its recommendations. ‘Gajah’ report identified electrocution as “one of the major causes” of unnatural elephant deaths in the country, mainly because of the largest forest animal coming in contact with high-tension lines drawn through sanctuaries and forests.
Quoting a TOI report on data tabled by the MoEF before Parliament showing that 333 out of the 510 elephant deaths related to conflict with humans between 2014-15 and 2018-19 were caused by electrocution, the petitioner said recent data submitted in the Lok Sabha by the MoEF showed that these numbers have been steadily increasing – from 56 electrocution deaths in 2016-17 to 81 deaths in 2018-19. The MoEF, in response to an RTI application, has said that from 2009 to 2020, a total of 741 elephants have died due to electrocution, it said.
The petitioners sought a direction from the court to the respondents to immediately commence work for insulation of high voltage power transmission lines passing through protected areas (wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, community reserves and conservation reserves), elephant reserves, identified elephant corridors and known areas of elephant movement.

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