NGT seeks response from Rajasthan govt on Maru Mahotsav 2023

NewsDrum Desk
31 Jan 2023

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has issued a notice to the Rajasthan tourism department on a petition claiming that the proposed Maru festival, which showcases the rich and colourful life of the desert state, will adversely affect the environment. The tribunal has also sought a factual report from the authorities concerned besides directing them to take immediate action to comply with the law and protect the wildlife, environment and the Desert National Park in the state. The world-famous 'Maru Mahotsav' is scheduled to be held in Rajasthan's Jaisalmer from February 2 to 5. A bevy of popular personalities, including Milind Gaba, Aastha Gill, Sawai Bhatt, Swaroop Khan and Raghu Dixit, will be performing at the event.

“We call for a factual and action taken report in the matter from Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Wildlife; Chairman, State Pollution Control Board (PCB); and District Magistrate, Jaisalmer by February 3…,” a bench comprising chairperson Justice A K Goel said. The bench, also comprising judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and expert members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad, said, “Notice be also issued to the project proponent, Principal Secretary, Tourism, Rajasthan… for its response if any …”.

“The authorities may take such action in the matter as is necessary to comply with the rule of law and for the protection of wildlife and environment and the Desert National Park, without waiting for further orders…,” the bench said.

The bench noted that a “substantial question” pertaining to the environment had arisen, which required the tribunal’s intervention.

“Apart from disturbance to the wildlife and the ecosystem of dunes by fireworks, laser show and high volume sound to which objection has been raised by the wildlife department, adequacy of sanitation and hygiene is to be ascertained when such large gathering will assemble,” the tribunal said.

It said the adverse impact of unregulated use of vehicles and consequent generation of dust and smoke and impact on camels has also to be looked into.

According to the petition, the cultural programme was to be held in the vicinity of the Desert National Park and the bird sanctuary, which was expected to be attended by around 15,000 people. The programme would involve fireworks, laser beams and sound systems at high volume, it said. The proposed activities would adversely affect the wildlife, the bird sanctuary and the environment and despite the deputy conservator of forest expressing concern, the tourism department, in violation of provisions of the Wildlife Act, was going ahead with the festival, the petition said.

The matter has been posted for further proceedings on February 3.

Meanwhile, Jaisalmer District Collector Tina Dabi said many grand cultural events have been planned for the Maru Mahotsav.

"On the last day of the festival, a grand programme by celebrities Salman Ali, Sanmukh Priya and Ankit Tiwari will be held. A Desert Symphony cultural event by internationally renowned artist Bhutte Khan and his troupe has also been planned.

"The most attractive programme 'Camel Tattoo Show' will be organised by the Border Security Force," she added.


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