States ‘Diverting’ Funds Meant For Environment Protection: SC
The Supreme Court expressed its displeasure noting that states were “diverting” huge amount of funds, meant for protection of environment and benefit of people, to other purposes like municipal works. A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said that around Rs 75,000 crore, including Rs 50,000 crore of the Compensatory Afforestation Funds Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), was lying with governments and asked whether there was any plan to utilise the money.
“What are the obligations of a state? It (these funds) is not for opening schools. It is meant for environment, rights of tribals in the villages. What is happening is that the states are diverting these funds to do municipal works and their other obligations,” the bench observed. The bench had earlier asked the Centre as to how the huge amount of around Rs 75,000 crore, lying in the form of various funds created on the apex court’s orders for protection of the environment, was being utilised. During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), told the bench that the funds were lying “safely” and the question was how to utilise it.
Now, A Wildlife-Friendly ‘Green Road’ Through Corbett
A “green road” that runs through the Corbett National Park and provides a vital link between Uttarakhand’s Garhwal and Kumaon divisions is set to become a template for development in sync with wildlife conservation in the country.The 90-km Ramnagar-Kotdwar road (Kandi Marg) will have a 50-km mostly elevated stretch traversing through the Corbett Park, allowing unhindered movement to the wildlife in the tiger reserve and providing a solution to the perennial man-animal conflict.With 2020 as the construction deadline, the Corbett stretch will have a flyover, bridge and underpasses.The proposal for metalling of this road was envisaged by the Public Works Department way back in 1976. Two patches, one from Kotdwar to Gujjarshrot and the other from Laldhang village to Ramnagar, were even metalled at that time. However, construction activity had to be stopped following enactment of the Forest Conservation Act 1980. After the formation of Uttarakhand in 2000, the demand for a proper Ramnagar-Kotdwar road once again gained momentum. The road will reduce the travel distance between Ramnagar and Kotdwar by 82 km, and ensure that travellers do not have to criss-cross Uttar Pradesh.