Orissa court seeks fresh report on Olive Ridley turtles

August 6th, 2008 - 3:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Cuttack, Aug 6 (IANS) The Orissa High Court has asked the state government to submit a fresh report on the actions taken by it to protect endangered Olive Ridley turtles who come to the state’s beaches every year for mass nesting, a lawyer said Wednesday. The division bench of the high court, comprising Chief Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice B.N. Mohapatra, Tuesday directed state chief secretary A.K. Tripathy to file the report on the basis of a petition filed by lawyer Rajiv Dasgupta.

Dasgupta had alleged that thousands of turtles were getting killed every year due to neglect by the government.

Dasgupta said the state government had earlier filed a report in the court detailing actions taken by it to protect them. However, the court rejected the report and asked the chief secretary to file a fresh one in two weeks.

Olive Ridley turtles are endangered and protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. Trapping or killing an Olive Ridley turtle can lead to imprisonment for seven years.

Orissa is known the world over as the biggest nesting site for Olive Ridley turtles. It has three mass nesting sites - Nasi Islands in Kendrapada district, mouth of Devi river in Puri district and mouth of Rushikulya river in Ganjam district.

Conservationists from across the world have been petitioning the Indian and state governments to protect the turtles.

“At least three cases related to the turtles are pending in the Orissa High Court and Supreme Court. The courts have on several occasions directed the state government to protect the endangered turtles,” said Biswajit Mohanty, coordinator of Operation Kachhapa - a turtle conservation group.

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