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Tripura High Court directs state govt to form panel to supervise wetlands crucial for migratory birds

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Agartala (Tripura) [India], February 27 (ANI): In a significant judgment, the High Court of Tripura on Sunday directed the state government to constitute a panel of higher officials who will be responsible for the protection and preservation of the wetlands across the state where migratory birds roost during the winter season.

Hearing public interest litigation in connection with the unnatural deaths of over 100 migratory birds reported at Udaipur under Tripura’s Gomati district, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice SG Chattopadhyay suggested the state government to encourage organic farming in the cropland located in the vicinity of such wetlands so that possibilities of contamination could be warded off.

“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,” the Bench said.

“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,” it added.

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

“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 court also made some recommendations pertaining to the ranks of officials who should be included in the panel and what definite roles they would play in order to implement the order in letter and spirit.

“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 the 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,” the order read.

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 the 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”, it added.

Disposing of the litigation, the Court also directed the state government to consult ornithologists and top environmentalists for their suggestions.

“The state would also be advised to include ornithologists as well as environmentalists 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,” the order concluded. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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