Bhubaneswar: The Orissa High Court has constituted a three-member committee to verify the compliance of directions with regard to the conservation of Olive Ridley turtles at the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary.
The committee, comprising Dr. Kartik Shankar, Bangalore, Dr. Sushant Nanda, Director Environment and Advocate Mohit Agarwal will visit the Gahirmatha and Rushikulya beaches. They will consult with locals, fishermen and others involved in the conservation and protection of ecological biodiversity in the areas and verify the compliance of the directions issued earlier by the state authorities, said an official circular.
The three-member committee will submit its report on March 10, while the case will come up for hearing on March 15.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Orissa High Court, while registering a suo motu PIL, issued notices to the Collector of Kendrapara district and the Secretary of Forest and Environment department on the basis of a media report about the large number of deaths of Olive Ridley turtles since January.
According to the report, 800 turtles have died along the Odisha coast since January 2021. This was evident from the carcasses washed ashore, on the beaches stretching 30 km along the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary and nearby areas from Silali to Nasi beach.
The rookery at Gahirmatha was declared a marine sanctuary in 1997 by the state government. It may be noted that the state government had imposed a ban on fishing activities here, around 20 km off the shore from November 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021.
Gahirmatha marine sanctuary is the world’s largest rookery of sea turtles.