New Delhi, Nov 8 (IANS) Observing that activities near Rajasthan’s Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve should not harm the wildlife, the National Green Tribunal has directed that a proposed musical event near the eco-sensitive zone be held only after the clearance by a committee.
A bench, headed by Chairperson Justice A.K. Goel (retd), was hearing a suo motu complaint in relation to the proposed “Ranthambhore Festival” at a hotel around 5 km from the park.
In the recent order, the green court observed that an informed decision in such a matter by a statutory regulator is necessary in absence of any express permission when the event is within 10 km from the Tiger Reserve.
The event management firm told the tribunal that the festival includes a wildlife safari during the morning and evening hours, an art and craft fair during the day, music from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and folk music from 6 p.m. to 9.30 p.m., acoustic music performances in amphitheatre and Hathi Kund, and a soundless event (using headphones, with no noise) at 9.30 p.m.
However, the tribunal stated that on being asked to produce approval, if any, from the Wildlife Department, no such approval has been shown by event management firm.
“Thus, claim that all approvals have been taken remains a tall claim. Further stand that even in absence of any appraisal of impact of the event on the wildlife, there can be no objection to the event is also unacceptable,” the tribunal noted in the order.
Activities in the park’s vicinity have to be regulated to ensure that there is no harm to the wildlife, the order said.
“It is difficult to accept that such events have no relevance for protection of wildlife. No evaluation has been undertaken by any statutory regulator or even by the PP (management) that the event will have no adverse impact on the wildlife.
“Accordingly, we direct that the event may be held only if so permitted and subject to such conditions as laid down by a joint Committee of National Wildlife Board, GoI and Chief Wildlife Warden, Rajasthan after due consideration of its impact on the wildlife and the eco-system.”
It also added that the decision be taken expeditiously, preferably within one week and the National Board for Wildlife in coordination with other authorities concerned, including the National Tiger Conservation Authority, could issue appropriate guidelines with regard to such events in the vicinity of other national parks in the country, preferably within one month.