Uttarakhand to contest HC ban on stay in meadows

Dehradun, June 26

After protests by two Congress MLAs at the Assembly, the Uttarakhand Government here on Tuesday said it would move the Supreme Court against the High Court order banning night stay at meadows and limiting the entry of tourists there.

Earlier in the day, Kedarnath MLA Manoj Rawat and Purola MLA Raj Kumar staged a dharna at the Vidhan Sabha on the second day of the monsoon session to protest the government’s “inaction” on the ban, which severely affected the tourism industry.

Reacting to this, state Forest Minister Harak Singh Rawat said the government had sufficient ground to move the apex court against the High Court’s 2018 order for safeguarding interests of the tourism sector and also the local youths involved in the adventure tourism.

Stating that the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 has created a big divide between the people and the Forest Department, he said the government was sincere about removing hurdles in the way of local businesses.

He also assured the two MLAs that the Forest Department had issued instructions that people wanting to stay at meadows by setting up temporary camps should not be removed.

Admitting delay in the matter, the Forest Minister said, “We admit our mistake. But we have collected information from all departments to prepare ground for moving the Supreme Court on the issue.”

The Kedarnath MLA had said the Forest Department removed all tents set up in the Chopta area for night stay in the meadows.

“Be it any meadow, the adventure tourism business has been badly affected due to the court orders. The state government had said it would challenge the court’s order in the Supreme Court, but it has not taken any step in this direction,” he said. PTI

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