The Uttarakhand High Court has banned commercial use of elephants in the state and also directed the Uttarakhand government to limit the number of gypsies including private and commercial gypsies with valid permits entering Ramanagar forest division, including Sitabani, Bijrani, Dhela zone, Kalagarh and Rajaji National Park to 100 in a day.
Hearing a writ petition filed by gram panchayat which had prayed for restricting the number of vehicles plying in the Ramnagar Forest Division the court also directed the wild life authorities to take over possession of elephants from the owners by issuing them proper receipt for their treatment, medical examination and proper upkeep within 24 hours.
“The elephants shall be temporarily kept at Rajaji National Park, Chilla. The injured/maim elephants shall be attended to by the veterinary doctors within 12 hours from today,” said the judges.
“Commercial use of elephants, including joy rides/ rides by the owners of the resorts in the entire state of Uttarakhand is banned till further orders of the court,” said the judgment order.
Terming the use of commercial use of elephants as a breach of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the division bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lok Pal Singh directed the concerned DFOs to issue notices to the owners of these elephants.
The court also directed the wild life institute to carry out a survey within three months to calculate the carrying capacity of the zones for assessing the number of vehicles that could be permitted in these zones to avoid minimum disturbance to the wild life. It also banned plying of private vehicle in Sitabani, Bijrani, Dhela zones including Kalagarh and Rajaji National Park.