Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday directed the government of India and the state government to stop damaging Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary at Shopain.
“The respondents shall not act in any manner which may cause directly or indirectly any type of damage to the Wildlife Sanctuary,” a division bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir said.
Hearing a PIL on the damage to the sanctuary during laying of power lines, the court also directed the wildlife authority to ensure the protection of the sanctuary.
Earlier advocate Ashraf Ahmad, one of the petitioners, told the court that the sanctuary has lost its fauna and flora.
“It is unfortunate that state without putting up a plan on environment assessment degraded this sanctuary by blasting the entire place,” Ashraf said.
“This damage will backfire in case we don’t take concrete steps now. The sanctuary which was home to thousands of animals and plants is no longer sustainable for them,” he said.
As per the litigation, Sterlite Power, and its contractors, Tata Projects have been assigned the project for laying 400KV D/C Samba- Amargarh line, supposed to provide power supply in Akhnoor, Rajouri, Poonch and Shopian.
Sterlite Power in its response has stated before the court that the state government was paid for the damages caused to the sanctuary.
As per the directions of Supreme Court, the company was supposed to lay the power line and erect towers in the sanctuary on the condition that the work should be done manually to avoid damage to flora and fauna of the area.
The petition states that the company has resorted to illegal blasting and employed heavy machinery causing damage to its fauna and flora.
On previous hearing, the court had directed the Ministry of Power, Chief Secretary of State, Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Development Commissioner Power, Forest authorities and others for filing of response to the PIL by next date.
Petitioner prayed for the immediate steps for the conservation of the sanctuary from avoiding unlawful blasting and use of heavy machinery.
They also submitted that investigation should be carried in the matter and stern action be taken against the contractors engaged in laying the transmission line through Hirpora Wildlife Sanctuary in violation of Apex Court directions.
The Public Interest Litigation was filed by advocate Junaid Rashid, Advocate Mohammad Ashraf and Advocate Bakhat Parvaiz.