The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court gave approval for the expansion of the NH7 in Maharashtra which will involve the felling of 23830 trees in a zone which is considered to be India’s finest tiger corridor.
“You should not just think about animals and environment, think about humans too. The court is ready to implement measures to take care of animals also,” ruled the bench headed by judges B. Gavai and Indira Jain.
Stating that the conditions of road was a hassle for commuters, the court directed the two petitioners Srushti Paryavaran Mandal and Conservation Action Trust to come up with measures to make roads safe for tigers with the help of experts.
“Tell us how we can make the roads safe for animals. If you think 50 meter underpasses are not sufficient, tell us how much is, we will make them 75 meters. We have consulted the best practices followed in US”, said the judges.
The court has ruled that the felling process be initiated in next 15 days and has asked the Forest Department to take the help of the National Highways Authority of India for felling equipments.
During the proceedings, the court also rapped the petitioners for pursuing cases with the National Green Tribunal simultaneously. The ruling of the HC has been opposed to the NGT order that had extended the stay on felling in the tiger corridor till 27 of July.
As per the Forest Department, 1,10,000 trees will be planted in South Umred range as compensatory afforestation.