Hugh Gantzer, one of the members of Supreme Court Monitoring Committee (SCMC), is unhappy with present functioning of the committee.
Gantzer, speaking to eNewsDesk, following his article published earlier said that he was of the view that there is no point in having SCMC which does not have a representative mix of members between forest department and the public or the stakeholders and hence it should be dissolved permanently.
Gantzer said that the 10-member SCMC was constituted in 1988 and in the beginning it did plenty of good work largely on the suggestions of its stakeholding members.
“The study of Carrying Capacity of Mussoorie is an excellent example of the sort of work committee did. The study published in 1990s was able to assess population growth including the influx of the tourists in Mussoorie and the resources available in the town. Among its findings was the fact that Mussoorie could take no more construction activities but despite that such activities have seemed to continue unabated” Gantzer says.
He laments that presently the functioning of SCMC was influenced by its changed composition.
He informs that the Hon’ble Supreme Court had ensured that the SCMC was a representative body comprising of Forest Officials and “Stakeholders” like the elected civic heads of Dehra Dun and Mussoorie, a retired Air Vice Marshall, the Director of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy in Mussoorie and a retired senior bureaucrat with environmental experience. He told that out of the non-official members, only two attend the meeting regularly and rest of the members either because of infirmity or influence are not attending the meetings.
“If we cannot have representative mix between forest department and public, in the SCMC then we should call it a forest department committee and there is no point in pretending that it is representative committee, when it is not,” Gantzer said.
He further said that if you have the majority of any committee drawn from one group, it’s most likely decision would naturally reflect the biases of that group. This gives the impression that the decision of monitoring committee is of the forest department by the forest department and for the forest department.
Without blaming anybody Gantzer said that it would naturally follow that the purpose for which SCMC was originally constituted are not being fulfilled hence it should be dissolved permanently.
“The basic aim of the committee is to protect the endangered environment of Doon Valley but if we cannot get the correct input from the stakeholders then it would difficult to save the fragile environment of Doon valley,” he emphasized.
It must be mentioned that the SCMC was constituted by Supreme Court under a judgement of 30.8.1988, in a Public Interest Litigation Case, for monitoring the environment issues of Doon Valley and Mussoorie.