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Goa quickly settles forest rights of STs in Mhadei reserve, tells HC | Latest news India

PANAJI: The Goa government on Monday told the Bombay High Court in Goa that it was working to “determine and settle the claims of the Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers residing in the Mhadei and surrounding wildlife reserves as expeditiously as possible.”

Goa forest minister and Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane opposes tiger reserve (FILE PHOTO)

The Supreme Court is hearing a contempt petition filed by the Goa Foundation, over the government’s failure to declare the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounding protected areas as a tiger reserve, as recommended by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

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On Monday, the Supreme Court recorded a statement by Goa Advocate General Devidas Pangam

that “steps be taken to comply with the order for ascertaining and settling the rights and claims of the Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers following the law at the earliest possible date.”

In its judgment on July 24 last year, the Supreme Court ruled that the state government had to implement the NTCA recommendations under the Wildlife Protection Act. “The state government was bound to declare Mhadei WLS and other areas as tiger reserve in view of the recommendations of the NTCA on the issue,” the high court said.

Goa forest minister and Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane is against the tiger reserve and the government has challenged the high court’s order in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court did not stay the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The plea to declare the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve emerged following the death of a tigress and her three cubs, allegedly after consuming the poisoned meat of a buffalo. Four people have been arrested in connection with this.

The state government opposed this move, claiming that while it was “not against declaring the area as a tiger reserve, the time was not ripe to make such a declaration… and that further investigation was needed, and that too the rights of the forest dwellers were necessary. must be fully settled before such steps can be taken.”