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Orissa HC revives turtle mortality issue

A view of the Odisha High Court. File  

The Orissa High Court has issued notices to the State government over the death of endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles at different beaches that annually host lakhs of nesting turtles.

Treating a media report as public interest litigation, the Orissa HC has decided to revive the issue of threat to lives of turtles.

“It is time to revive the issue to ensure that the threat caused to the Olive Ridley turtles that have been visiting the beaches of Odisha over many years are not endangered and that the general health of the coast is improved and preserved. It is a matter of concern that despite several directions having been issued over the years, nothing much appears to have happened to improve the situation,” said a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Dr. S. Muralidhar and Justice B.P. Routray.

About 25 years ago, the Orissa HC had earlier dealt with the matter in case of WWF India (World Wide Fund for Nature-India) versus State of Orissa, wherein a detailed order was passed on May14, 1998, the judgment says.

It further points out that this court had again issued a large number of directions in the case of Biswajit Mohanty versus State of Orissa.

Quoting the report, the HC in its judgment observed 800 Olive Ridley turtles have died since January this year at the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, the world’s largest sea turtle rookery.

Turtles were dying after getting stuck in fishing nets. Many dead turtles had injury marks.

Taking turtle mortality seriously, the court appointed Mohit Agarwal, an advocate, as Amicus Curiae to assist the court in the matter.

Notices have beene issued through Forest and Environment Secretaries to the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Mangrove Forest Division (wildlife), Rajnagar; Additional District Magistrate, Kendrapara; Deputy Director of Fisheries, Cuttack, and the Kendrapara Collector, to apprise the court on the next date of the steps taken to deal with turtle mortality on an urgent basis. The HC is scheduled to hear the matter on Friday.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 9:10:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/orissa-hc-revives-turtle-mortality-issue/article33932782.ece

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