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Villagers move K'taka HC to protect wildlife waterhole

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, Apr 3 (UNI) The Karnataka High Court today ordered issuance of notices to the State Government, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, the Gram Panchayat of Nittur village and others on a writ petition seeking protection to a waterhole (tank) constructed for wild animals in the Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Bench, comprising Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph and Mr Justice K L Manjunath, admitted the petition filed by Katimada Shareen Muthanna and other residents of Nittur village in Virajpet taluk, challenging a resolution passed by the village Panchayat on February 24, 2001, permitting coffee planters to draw water from the Vaddaramadu tank, constructed and reserved by the government for the Sanctuary.

The impugned resolution permitted use of water for the coffee plantations on payment of Rs 1,000 for 10 days for pumps up to 16 HP and Rs 1,500 for pumps more than 16 HP. The panchayat imposed a payment, as earlier water was drawn unauthorisedly.

On account of the resolution and drawing of water, the wildlife was deprived of water following which they were entering the villages. The water that could last for an entire year for the wildlife was being drawn by the coffee planters within 20 days, resulting in wild animals like elephants entering villages and causing damage to crops and endangering the lives of residents.

The impugned resolution was illegal and caused environmental problems. Despite the villagers filing several respresentations, the authorities concerned failed to act. Hence they sought the court for a direction to the authorities to stop misue of water from the tank.


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