Constitute Panel To Preserve Wetlands For Migratory Birds : Tripura HC To Government

Posted in Featured, Northeast, Tripura
  • Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent, Tripura

Agartala, February 27, 2022: The High Court of Tripura recently directed the Tripura government to form a panel of higher officials responsible for the protection and preservation of the wetlands across the state where migratory birds settle during the winter season.

In connection with the unnatural deaths of over 100 migratory birds reported at Tripura’s Udaipur under Gomati district, a division bench comprising of Chief Justice Indrajit Mohanty and Justice Satya Gopal Chattopadhyay heard a public interest litigation (PIL) also recommended the government to encourage farming in the cropland locate in the surrounding areas of such wetlands so that the possibilities of infection can be averted.

The Court passed the order after going through a report submitted by the Forest department of Tripura.

The order copy reads “There is a possibility that the migratory birds may have consumed pesticide used by the farmers in the said area but for that also they have no confirmed evidence thereof and soil samples appear to have been sent for testing to establish the said fact. In the present circumstances, we are of the considered view that as suggested by the learned amicus curiae the State should constitute a committee of responsible officers who shall supervise all such wetlands in the State of Tripura and in particular, the farming that is being done in the nearby areas and to try and encourage the local farmers to convert to organic farming as being promoted by the Government of India instead of using pesticides and/or chemicals.”

“We also find from the report that by the time the inquiry committee went to visit the local area, they could find no carcasses of the migratory birds which itself is a matter of concern. The only carcass that appears to have been found is that of a common teal on 28.01.2022 and even then the postmortem could not be conducted on the said bird due to putrification of the carcass”, the Court order reads.

The order copy also added “This committee should also include scientists and representatives of the Agriculture Department. Of course, what has already occurred cannot be revived. However, it is a signal for the future unless and until the State and all its agencies coordinate their activities to preservation of rare animals and birds which are stated to have been declared to be ‘rare’ birds by the European Union, the balance between man, nature and animals is likely to be adversely impacted, consequently adversely impacting nature itself. Accordingly, we direct the committee to inspect all large areas of wetlands in the State of Tripura, ascertain what are the challenges that need to be addressed and submit a report before the Government for necessary action. In the present case, we are of the considered view that result of the evaluation of the earth samples sent may provide indicators but it is widespread and well-known that people have encroached into wetlands throughout the State of Tripura thereby causing a great possibility of restricting the wetland areas and even wetland areas which have also been identified under the Ramsar agreement”.

The Court also directed the state government to consult ornithologists and top environmentalists for their suggestions disposing the litigation.

The order wind up mentioning that “The state would also be advised to include ornithologist as well as environmentalist to form part of the said committee to aid and advise the said committee in this regard. With such observations, this PIL stands disposed of”.

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