Uttarakhand to Denotify Elephant Reserve For Airport Expansion

Uttarakhand wildlife board proposes to denotify Shivalik Elephant Reserve and make way for Dehradun airport project.

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 Image for representative purposes.

The Uttarakhand wildlife board on Tuesday, 24 November, cleared a proposal to denotify the Shivalik Elephant Reserve as an elephant reserve to make way for the Dehradun airport project, reported PTI. The Reserve which was notified in 2002, is spread over an area of 5,409 square kms.

The elephant reserve was ‘creating hurdles’ in development work in the area. Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat told News18 that the move ‘won’t affect’ the movement to protect elephants and their habitat

Rawat told Hindustan Times that the state wildlife board approved the de-notification of Shivalik Elephant Reserve as there is no law to define an elephant reserve. He, however, added that “in future, if the Centre makes a law governing elephant reserves, then Shivalik area will automatically fall under its purview.”

Chief Wildlife Warden JS Suhag told PTI, “The notification on Shivalik Elephant Reserve had no legal sanction as it was just a government order which did not have the Cabinet’s approval.” The state government is expected to issue an official order on the proposal in a few days.

The wildlife board also reportedly approved a proposal to start four new trek routes in Nelong valley that will now allow entry to 100 tourists and 20 vehicles a day. Earlier, just 5 vehicles and 30 people were allowed.

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