New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The National Green Tribunal (NGT), which had earlier directed the Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha (CESU) to deposit Rs 1 crore with the chief wildlife warden of Odisha, increased the penalty amount to Rs 4 cr, which will be utilised for the protection of wild elephants.
The green panel also directed the power distribution company to deposit the amount with Odisha Forest Department which will spend the money for preparation of action plan to protect elephants. Moreover, the tribunal also directed the forest department to report the Ministry of Forest and Environment every three months on its strategies to prevent the death of pachyderms.
The fresh order came in connection with the death of seven elephants due to electrocution in Kamalanga village of Dhenkanal district in October.
Taking suo-motu cognisance of media reports on the death of jumbos, the green tribunal earlier on October 30 had also constituted a three-member committee to investigate the elephant death. The team comprising representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun, director of Project Elephant and chief wildlife warden in Odisha had been directed to visit the site and suggest measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents in future.
Notably, seven elephants were electrocuted after coming in contact with a live wire near Kamalanga village in Dhenkanal district on October 27.
Forest department had attributed the death to non-rectification of sagging lines and non-cabling of transmission line due to lackadaisical approach of electricity department.
The State government had ordered a crime branch inquiry into the incident. Apart from this, the government had suspended six officials and sacked a junior engineer of the Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) and three forest staff.