LEGAL PROTECTION TO OLIVE RIDELY SEA TURTLE By Dr.Md.Zafar Mahfooz Nomani <email@example.com> Reader Faculty of Law Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh-202002 The EIA of marine resources of late has been a subject of great enviro-legal interest in India. The EIA of marine wildlife sanctuary and its adverse impact on the stakeholders of environment was litigated before Orissa High Court in the Center for Environmental Law v. State of Orissa. The seminal importance of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary can be gauged from the fact that Bhitarkanika is a unique mangrove eco-system and is the second largest stretch of mangrove forests in the Indian mainland. Its richness floristically is apparent from the fact that out of the 67 known Indian mangrove species 62 are found in this sanctuary. The sanctuary is a unique reptilian refuse mangrove eco-system. It is the home of estuarine crocodile commonly known as daula. On the other hand Gahirmatha beach which is the largest rookery of olive ridley turtles in the world. This type of turtle is one of the five different varieties of sea turtles found in the Indian coastal waters. Gahirmatha occupies a prominent place four known species of rookeries of the world viz, olive ridley sea turtle, hawksbills, leatherback and green sea turtle are found on 15 km. living and 50 metre wide stretch along Gahirmatha. All the four species of sea turtles found in Orissa are protected under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and IUCN Red Data Stock as endangered species. The sea turtles are also protected under the Migratory Species Convention and CITE (Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species. However due to cyclonic devastations and reckless fishing and nesting the incidence of death of sea turtle is gradually increasing. In view of the unique marine bio-diversity the EIA Study Group suggested to constitute a Committee, which will grant opportunity to different stakeholders for presentation of rival contentions more specifically the livelihood issues, and protection of the sanctuary. The Committee after an in depth study has come out with concrete recommendations. Environment Impact Assessment Study Group (EIAS) in the Bhitarkanika Sanctuary suggested creation an in depth study of the problems valuable suggestion which in its view would he ideal for all concerned. The impact evaluation and mitigating measures inter alia includes impact of Talchua Fish landing Center on the ecology of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, mass resting of olive ridlery sea turtle, improvement of roads and construction of bridges and fish landing outlet and centers. It has also expressed the view that construction of fish landing centers at Talchuka in the revenue village Rajendranagar will provide a decent and hygienic landing place and will save from the inconveniences of depending on Dharmra for unloading the fish catch. The committee however, suggested that there are certain secondary effects, which unless mitigated, might have serious adverse impacts on the mangrove forests. Regarding impact of Talchua Fish landing center on the mass nesting of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles, the Committee observed that no clear protective measures have been suggested for improvement of the roads and construction of bridges on Bhitarkanika eco-system to minimize the adverse impact. After taking into consideration the report of the EIA Committee the Orissa High Court ruled that Talchua Fish Landing Center be made functional. All possible attempts should be made to curb the influx of migratory human population of the surrounding area. Since partof the proposed road (Khola to Talchua via Dangmal) will have some adverse impact on the ecology of Bhitarkanika Sanctuary, it is necessary to have realignment of this part of the road via
Halitapatia (Khala Nalitapatia Talchua) along the bank of the river brahmani. Protective special force deployment cannot take care of the massive organized illegal fishing activities at Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary. Immediate steps are taken to evict the unauthorized occupants of forest land, including rivers and creeks within the boundary of Bhiatarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary. All forest lands including rivers and creeks within the boundary of Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary should be declared as reserve forest and be treated as property of the forest Department and restored to it. No new leases for land and water bodies should be granted within the Sanctuary. The aquaculture farms should not be allowed within the Sanctuary’s boundary. Eco-development programme should be undertaken on priority basis in the Sanctuary with the object of conservation of the habitat with its biotic diversity. Attempts should be made to involve the local people and attempts should be made bring in participatory sense of involvement in them. A feeling should be generated in them that there should be decreased dependence on the forests and encourage them to avail acceptance of the alternatives. To avoid the possibility of any adverse impact due to increase in the number of mechanized boats, there should be a ceiling to the number of licences to be issued to the fishing fifty and the traditional crafts Precautionary measures is to be taken in respect of mangrove forests in the Mahanadi estuarine system including Mukitola, Jamboo and adjoining forest blocks. Keeping in view the massiveness and sensitive nature of the functions to be undertaken a permanent body should be constituted to study the environmental impact and suggest steps for protecting the environment with due regard to the interest on developmental activities. Write your abstract here.