Uttarakhand: environment, ecology

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High-altitude valleys, meadows/bugyals

HC’s orders/ 2018

Vineet Upadhyay, HC orders U’khand to protect meadows, August 23, 2018: The Times of India


Bans Overnight Stays, Limits Tourist Arrivals

Terming high-altitude alpine meadows as ‘God’s grasslands’, Uttarakhand high court directed the state to “consider declaring all important high-altitude valleys and alpine meadows/ sub-alpine meadows/bugyals with rich plant population as high-altitude national parks and sanctuaries within a period of six months.”

The court also banned overnight stay in the alpine meadows citing it as a threat to the fragile ecosystem and ordered removal of all permanent structures including huts constructed for tourists in meadows across the state within three months.

The division bench of acting chief justice Rajiv Sharma and justice Lok Pal Singh while delivering the order on Tuesday remarked that bugyals are an important feature of the ecosystem and “every effort should be made to save them from disaster.” The judges further ordered to restrict the number of tourists visiting these areas to not more than 200 at a given time.

To ensure the meadows retain their pristine beauty, the court directed all 13 district magistrates to carry out “removal of plastic water bottles, cans etc from all bugyals within six weeks” and directed the state to make sure that no new construction or encroachment is done in these alpine meadows “in any form, even in the name of religion.”

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