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Bhopal City
Tiger movements: NGT bans construction near Kerwa, Kaliasot areas

Bhopal: National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned with immediate effect all building permissions, new or pending within 1 km from the boundary of forest land in Kerwa and Kaliasot area due to tigers' movements. The green panel has asked the district administration to take a call on enforcing prohibitory orders for restricting tourists in these areas as well.

On Wednesday, senior officials of the forest department - additional PCCF, director Ratapani Sanctuary and CCF from ministry of environment and forest (MoEF), director Town and Country Planning (T&CP) and Bhopal collector appeared before the tribunal to explain why tigers were straying into Bhopal and measures that could be taken to avoid man-animal conflict.

NGT central zonal bench comprising judicial member Justice Dalip Singh and expert member AR Yousuf asked T&CP not to issue building permissions in the area within 1 km boundary of forest land.

CCF MoEF informed the tribunal that time and again National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has issued advisory for emergency situations like tigers' straying into human habitation to all state wildlife wardens.

Besides, a standard operating procedure (SOP) has been issued to all the 'tiger states' by NTCA on how to handle situations when tigers stray into areas inhabited by people, CCF said, handing over the SOP to the tribunal.

Thereafter, NGT bench directed Bhopal collector to convene a meeting on November 5 of forest, administration and civic body officials to decide on measures that can be taken, based on the SOP submitted by CCF.

The bench also ordered to immediately install a police outpost (chawki) at Kerwa dam to prevent tourists and common people from going there.

On imposing Section 144 in the areas where tiger movement has been recorded, the collector said there were several educational institutes and people live in these areas. Hence imposing Section 144 could be difficult. However, he is expected to decide on the matter in Thursday's meeting with the officials.

Ratapani Sanctuary director showed the map with movement of tigers of last three years to the NGT bench. He said that straying of tigers from the sanctuary into Bhopal was common. But it was the first time that they have stayed back in the capital for such a long duration of almost four months.

Forest officials said the reason why the tiger (T1) and the tigress (T2) have stayed back could be due to mating season, but they couldn't exactly say the reason why they were not back in the sanctuary by now.