Panaji: Former Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh has said that Goa government has no option but to notify Mhadei Tiger Reserve by October 24, 2023, as the Supreme Court has refused to stay the order of High Court. “On July 24, 2023, the Goa Bench of Bombay High Court, in response to some petitions, directed the Goa government to declare Mhadei as a Tiger Reserve. It gave the Goa government three months to do so. The government of Goa then approached the Supreme Court to nullify the order of the High Court. But on September 25, 2023 the Supreme Court refused a stay,” Jairam Ramesh said on X.
“So now the Goa govt has no option but to notify the Mhadei Tiger Reserve by October 24, 2023. Of course, like in the case of the cheetah project, the PM will claim credit. But let that be. There is continuity in governance which he never acknowledges,’ he said. Jairam Ramesh said that on June 28, 2011, he had written to the then Chief Minister Digambar Kamat to agree to have the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary declared as a Tiger Reserve.
On July 24, the Bombay High Court at Goa had directed the state government to notify the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary as a Tiger Reserve within three months. The Court was hearing a petition filed by Goa Foundation (a local NGO). It had sought direction from the court to notify a tiger reserve in the state. Congress leaders in Goa had questioned the state government: “What compels the government to take the matter to the Supreme Court, when the majority of people feels that this is the right and best Order of High Court. It is in the interest of the state. We want to know the reason why the government wants to challenge this order.”