In a significant judgment to solve the man-elephant conflict, the high court on Tuesday issued a set of 17 directives to the state government to be strictly followed, including identification of elephant habitats, within two months.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice B V Nagarathna passed the directions while hearing a suo motu petition on a series of elephant deaths.
The bench directed the government to re-notify elephant habitats and corridors in areas notified under Project Elephant, Mysore Elephant Reserve and places mentioned in the report of the Task Force, within a period of two months from the date of receipt of the certified copy of the order.
The state was directed to review all clearances given to various projects in elephant habitats and corridors in a time-bound manner. The directions were also applicable to Kodagu district.
The bench also said: “The Mysore Elephant Reserve holds 98 per cent of the wild elephants numbering an estimated 5,740 across 19 forest divisions. The state must initiate steps to declare it a corridor and complete the land acquisition process within two months.”
Whenever there is diversion of forest land within an elephant habitat or corridor, it must be referred to the Chief Wildlife Warden for assessment of impact.
The petitioners are at liberty to make a representation to the respondent — authorities including the Chief Wildlife Warden — on the specific grievances of the people of Kodagu district.
Steps will be taken base on the recommendations of the Task Force Committee and in accordance with the law to redress the grievances of the petitioners, the bench added.