Posted by: Bittu Sahgal on
Aug 20, 2012
So, after giving the Supreme Court faulty advice, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) realises that it acted in haste, but it will nevertheless be forced to repent at leisure... at the expense of a nation riven with quixotic planning, short-term goals and insensitivity to the environment that support us all.
Despite having submitted a revised affidavit, seeking to 'amend' the earlier, faulty advice given to the court on the issue of tourism in wildlife areas, the MoEF was told in no uncertain terms that the Honorable Supreme Court was less than amused by their cavalier attitude towards tigers and tiger habitats. Here is the actual text of the release from the Press Trust of India, carefully worded, but filled with censure for a ministry that seems to have lost all respect not only of the people, but the courts as well.
Everyone agreed that the tourism trade had not merely exceeded all limits of commonsense and decency where wildlife was conerned, but in some places had gone to the extent of harming wildife in India. Corbett Tiger Reserve was a classic case in point where elephant corridors had been blocked by a rash of inappropriate lodges that were 'mining' tourism. The answer surely was to crack down on tourism, not close it down completely as the National Tiger Conservation Authority sought to do.
In the event, the Supreme Court has taken a dim view of the capricious attitude of both officials and politicians and when it hears the petition on August 27, 2013.
In the (angry words) of the judges, aimed at the MoEF: "You are trying to make up? You have done it (guidelines) after due deliberation. We want to know on what basis you want to do it? What is the data available? What are you going to do to save tigers? Earlier it was 13,000, now it has come down to 1,200. You are more worried about the commercial activities."