‘Mental poverty’ when only development work is done in the forest: Jharkhand HC

‘Mental poverty’ when only development work is done in the forest: Jharkhand HC

It shows “mental poverty” when development work is only carried out around forests without thinking of “connecting those forests” to facilitate the movement of animals, the Jharkhand High Court observed Thursday.

The court made the observation when the question of measures taken to restore wildlife in the Jharkhand forests arose while hearing a suo motu case involving the death of two baby elephants in the forests of the Latehar district.

HC Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan’s bench and Judge Sujit Narayan Prasad stressed that there must be a serious effort to “bring back” wildlife, which the CJ said used to be in abundance before.

The court was informed that Jharkhand has 29% forest cover, which translates to 23,615 square kilometers.

PK Verma, chief chief conservator of forests and head of forest forces, told the court that all forest areas, except one in Palamu and Saranda, are not continuous and are only in patches. To this, the court responded: “Doesn’t this show our poverty of mind? When we talk about development we should also talk about the development of connecting two jungles…. We should have made elevated paths, so that the animals have a connection to the jungle. We didn’t think about that, but now we have to act … “

All of this, the court observed, shows a “total lack of planning.”

The court said the matter was not only related to the death of the calves, but to the condition of the animals in general.

When the court asked about the number of elephants in the state, Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife and Wildlife Director Rajiv Ranjan said: “In the last census, 678 elephants were found in the state. The next census will be carried out in 2022 ”.

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The court then asked if it was a sufficient number, to which Rajiv Ranjan said: “Historically, it seems to be … sufficient, as this number is creating many problems for the human population.”

CJ Ravi Ranjan then said: “Why do animals come to the human population… Why are they forced to come to the agricultural field in search of food? There should be a study … A forest without animals is like a body without a soul … What is the meaning of afforestation to increase forest cover only … No. How many animals are there in Jharkhand? There are no tigers in the Palamu Tiger Reserve and the Hazaribagh area. What has been the effort to bring the animals back ”.

The government claimed that a study had been commissioned from the Indian Wildlife Institute to connect corridors for tiger movements. The court ordered the government to obtain the data at the next hearing on the number of animals in Jharkhand.

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