High Court Asks Odisha Govt To Frame Policy On Non-Fishermen Activities In Chilika

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has directed the state government to formulate a policy regarding activities of traditional non-fishermen in Chilika lake within two months.

A division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice Chittaranjan Dash asked the Revenue department of the state to chalk out the policy in consultation with Chilika Development Authority (CDA) and stakeholders concerned.

The HC had earlier in April directed the CDA to examine the issue and submit within three months its recommendations to the state government to consider whether any such policy is needed to be reformulated.

However, no response was received from CDA, the court modified its earlier order. As the aim is to have a policy, the Revenue department should undertake the process consistent with the judgments of the Supreme Court and the prevailing legal regime, the court said.

While adjudicating a PIL for restoration of the ecology of two wetlands in the state – Chilika Lake and Bhitarkanika, the court was taking stock of the progress of removal of illegal prawn gheris from the waterbodies on Thursday. As per the court’s order, the Odisha State Pollution Control Board submitted a report with suggestions to improve the water quality in the two wetlands.

The HC bench took note of it and directed the state government to examine the suggestions and ensure they are implemented in letter and spirit. The bench also directed amicus curiae Mohit Agarwal to further study the affidavit and suggest if any further direction is needed in this regard.

Collector of Puri district had filed an affidavit stating that 13 FIRs had been registered and several illegal net gheris dismantled in Chilika area in Patanasi under Krushna Prasad block. The revenue inspector and assistant revenue inspector were suspended on August 17 and the tehsildar transferred in connection with re-emergence of net gheris in the area.

The HC had suo motu registered a PIL for restoration of the ecology of the two wetlands in 2017.

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