NGT’s directive puts state wildlife authorities in a fix

National Green Tribunal

Jai Kumar



National Green Tribunal direction to Uttarakhand asking the state to submit an action plan to address the issue of eye infection among the endangered Himalayan blue sheep, locally known as bharal has put the state wildlife department on a tight spot.

State wildlife authorities from the beginning have been denying any such major eye disease with blue sheep. The authorities had even sent a team to higher reaches of Kedar Tal area of Uttarkashi district which has good presence of blue sheep but the team failed to locate the diseased animal and could only return with a corpse of blue sheep.

Hearing a petition, Biodiversity board has been directed by the National Green Tribunal to submit an action plan. One BSF officer had first reported the matter to state forest authorities about the presence of eye infected blue sheep while he was on a mountaineering expedition.

Though state forest authorities did make some effort but found little substance on the matter and thus did not pursue it for long. But NGT’s previous day’s directive in which it even went to the extent of warning the biodiversity board that on failing to submit an action plan within a week, they would be liable to pay Rs 1 lakh, which it said would be recovered from the concerned officer’s salary.