Minister cannot overrule wildlife board, rules NGT

By | October 31, 2017


Written by Jay Mazoomdaar
| New Delhi |
Up to date: October 31, 2017 5:43 am


Then Surroundings minister, Jayanthi Natarajan overruled Board’s objection and granted clearance to Demwe hydel mission.

The Nationwide Inexperienced Tribunal (NGT) has dominated that the Surroundings Ministry can’t reject the bulk view of the Nationwide Board for Wildlife (NBWL) with none correct purpose. Assam-based conservationist Bimal Gogoi had challenged earlier than the Tribunal the forest clearance issued in 2013 by the Surroundings Ministry to 1750-MW Demwe Decrease Hydro Electrical mission, in Arunachal Pradesh’s Lohit district.

In 2012, then Surroundings Minister Jayanthi Natarajan overruled the views of the skilled members of the NBWL standing committee — who opposed the mission for its potential downstream affect on Dibru-Saikhowa Nationwide Park in Assam — and granted it wildlife clearance. This “fashioned the premise” of the forest clearance (FC) issued subsequently.

In its detailed order, launched on October 27, the NGT dominated that the Surroundings minister as chairperson of the NBWL, a statutory physique constituted beneath the Wildlife Safety Act, 1972, couldn’t “simply brush apart” the views of nearly all of NBWL standing committee members.

“Within the absence of any purpose however solely to reject nearly all of the non-official members who occurred to be specialists within the discipline….we have now no hesitation to carry that the choice of the minister as if it’s the determination of the Standing Committee of NBWL, which varieties the premise of the granting of FC on this case beneath the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, isn’t sustainable in legislation,” the NGT dominated. The judgment directed the NBWL to rethink the problem and move applicable orders inside six months. Till then, levels I and II forest clearances issued in March 2012 and Could 2013, respectively, and the consequential order of the state authorities permitting diversion of 1415.92 ha forest land for the hydel mission, will stand suspended, the Tribunal acknowledged. Being executed collectively by Athena Vitality Ventures and the Arunachal Pradesh authorities, the Demwe Decrease hydel mission was granted setting clearance in 2010.

“We’re glad that the unlawful wildlife clearance issued by overruling the NBWL standing committee has been struck down,” petitioner Bimal Gogoi informed The Indian Categorical. “We hope the recent clearance course of takes a precautionary strategy whereas analyzing this mega-dam proposed to come back up on Lohit river at an ecologically and culturally web site, Parshuram Kund.”

In December 2015, as reported by The Indian Categorical, then Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma had requested the Surroundings Ministry to “kindly place on report the objection” of the Tourism Ministry to the Demwe Decrease mission and likewise convey it to the NGT listening to a case filed by “native stakeholders towards the mission”, which might “generate 23 lakh truckload of particles (and) destroy the holy web site of Parashuram Kund.”

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