Gujarat HC Notice To CCF, DRM For Lax Approach To Stem Lion Deaths On Rly Tracks - Vibes Of India

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Gujarat HC Notice To CCF, DRM For Lax Approach To Stem Lion Deaths On Rly Tracks

| Updated: April 10, 2024 15:29

The Gujarat high court has slammed the forest department and railways for not doing anything on their own, without the court’s intervention, to inquire into the deaths of Asiatic lions on railway tracks.
The authorities told the court about the new standard operating procedure (SOP) to be adopted with the lowering of train speed — 30 kmph in forest areas and no train movements at night hours, and 40 kmph for trains on the broad gauge section between Pipavav and Rajula, which is 112km away from the Gir sanctuary — and many other measures to be undertaken to protect lions from being run over by trains.
The judges seemed least impressed with the measures suggested and questioned the forest department for not undertaking any inquiry into the deaths of lions in two accidents in January, “Lions are like you children. If your child goes outside the house and meets with an accident on the way, will you not make an inquiry as to what happened? How it occurred?”
The court pulled up the government for not coming up with the inquiry report despite a court order. It criticised the government for its inaction without the court’s interference, “Why did you not find a solution earlier? That means there is no application of mind. You always need some interference from the court, some sword hanging over your head and then you will work. We are not ‘darogajis’ (police inspectors). Please don’t make us a ‘daroga’ for this. This is not done, not acceptable at all. It is the duty of the forest department to ensure that no single animal is harmed by any outside element in the forest.”
When the government tried to list action taken, the chief justice called them baby steps and said the court was pulling up all the officials who kept mum about the accidents. The HC expressed displeasure at the silence on the inquiry into the deaths in January.
“When these accidents occurred in Jan, the appropriate action by railways and the forest department was to make an inquiry jointly and severally to ascertain cause of death. Corrective measures ought to have been taken without the high court’s intervention,” the court said.
The HC directed the chief conservator of forests (wildlife) and divisional railway manager of Bhavnagar to file affidavits by April 23 to answer why initiative was not taken before the HC’s intervention. The court ordered the implementation of the new SOP in the meantime.

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