The Supreme Court on Wednesday criticized the Union government for changing its stand on core areas of tiger reserves being kept out of bounds for tourists.
The apex court extended the interim ban on tourism in core areas till August 29.
The SC said that because of callous attitude of the authorities in enforcing rules in wild habitats, the tiger population has dwindled to just 1400.
A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar put some searching questions to the Centre as it made a fresh plea for the review of the apex court’s July 24 order banning tourism in the core areas of tiger reserves.
“You are trying to make up. You have done it (guidelines) after due deliberation. We want to know on what basis you want to do it? What is the data available?
“What are you going to do to save tigers? Earlier it was 13,000, now it has come down to 1,200. You are more worried about the commercial activities,” the bench told the Centre’s counsel Waseem Ahmed Kadiri.
The apex court made the observation after the Centre made a mention of its affidavits filed in the court for permission to review its earlier guidelines for conservation of tiger.
The apex court earlier on July 24 had imposed an interim ban on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves on the basis of same guidelines. The ban extended today would remain in place at least till next hearing on August 29.
“What have you done for the tiger project? What about the core areas you have promised to take steps for? The Union of India has not done anything except filling affidavits. Why did you initially recommend the ban?,” the court asked the counsel.
The apex court later while ordering that its interim ban order would continue posted the matter for further hearing to August 29.