I have been trying hard to protect Shri Renuka Ji Wild Life Sanctuary. I am the witness of crucial condition of wild life department and its officers in between HP politics.
I am working silently since more then one year thinking a day will come when all will understand the importance of Wild life & Forests in Himachal. I feel Himachal is because of Forests & its environment which is degrading day by day.
I am writing this article again with a hope, may be some one from Himachal forest department would be kind enough to listen my voice & will do something. I am only describing the position of one wild Life sanctuary in Himachal & I am afraid all of others are in same condition.
- I wish to invite kind attention of Hon’ble Chief Wildlife Warden towards illegal constructions and several non-forest activities going unbridled inside the Renuka ji Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The protected area network of the State encompasses 32 wildlife sanctuaries (area 6132.55 Sq. Km.) and 2 National Parks (area 1440 Sq. Km.) occupying 13.6% of state’s geographical area and 20.45% of legally notified forest area is much higher than national average of PA’s of 4.7%.
- Shri Renuka ji Wild Life Sanctuary is a very well known wild life sanctuary and wetland throughout India. The wetland is situated at an altitude of 660 mts. at a distance of about 322 kms from Delhi. From a distance the lake looks like a women sleeping on her side. In view of its importance, the Ministry of Environment and Forest Government of India, has recognized it as National wetland. The State Government has notified an area comprising 402 ha. in and around of this wetland as wild life sanctuary in 1964. The said area was finally notified whereas its final notification has been passes under section 26 of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 vide notification No. FFE-B-F (6)-26/99 dated 23.10.99.
- On the other hand General Administration Department of Government of HP by its Notification No. GAD-A (A) 4-05-84 dated 19th Sep 1984 constituted a Board for the management, maintenance and further development of Shri Renuka ji area in the name of “Renuka ji Development Board”, hereinafter referred to as ‘the Board.
- It is respectfully submitted that the constitution of the Board is contrary to the statutory provisions stipulated in the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and Indian Forest Act, 1927. The mandate provided to the Board is in violation of the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 as most the activities enumerated in it are non-forest activities.
- It is an unprecedented situation, wherein the State Government has issued two notifications applicable in the same area, violating each other. As per the revenue records maintained by the State, there is no land on the name of the Board. The owner of the whole area is Wild life department. Hence the constitution of the Board for the activities is the violation of wild life Protection Act.
- Renuka ji Vikas Board is inviting tenders from time to time for boating, parking & construction etc inside the notified sanctuary area. The operation of such tenders violates the statutory provisions as well as the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 14 Feb. 2000 in IA No. 548 in Civil Writ Petition No. 202/ 95. The Hon’ble Supreme Court vide the said order prohibited all non- forestry activity, removal of biomass, miscellaneous construction activities etc. in the protected area without prior permission of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
- It is pertinent to mention that Renuka ji Vikas Board is reconstructing most of the Historical temples and other buildings which is within the exclusive purview of the Archaeological Survey of India, which is competent to carry out such delicate activities. Any construction of such kind By the Board is great threat to these historical places.
- Further, activities like boating in the Renuka ji Lake is still going on which is a threat to tortoise, Mahasher, Mirror crap Gooch & many other species prominent in the wetland. Cutting of trees is also rampant by the Board. A very ancient tree has been cut down by the Board near a temple without the statutory permissions of the Authorities.
- BECAUSE there is an imperative need to protect and preserve the Renuka ji Wildlife Sanctuary in of Himachal Pradesh from irrational and illegal activities inside the Renuka ji Wildlife Sanctuary.
- BECAUSE Article 48-A in Part IV (Directive Principals) of the Constitution of India, 1950 brought by the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 enjoins that “State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.” Article 51-A (g) imposes “a fundamental duty” on every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural” environmental” including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
- BECAUSE continuation of non-forest activities inside the Renuka ji Wildlife Sanctuary will destroy its ecological balance.
- BECAUSE Man as the guardian of beautiful creations of God, has the duty to work towards the protection and preservation of the same.
- BECAUSE the relief prayed for, if not granted will cause irreparable damage and injury to the environment, which cannot ever be assessed or compensated for in terms of money.