The Supreme Court today issued an interim order suspending the operation of elephant trench projects and the digging of elephant trenches in wildlife national parks.
This interim order will be effective until the final determination of a Fundamental Rights petition filed against the elephant trench projects.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court granted leave to proceed with this Fundamental Rights petition and fixed the petition for argument on September 22.
The Centre for Environmental Justice had filed this petition, naming the State Minister of Wildlife Protection, the Director General of Wildlife Conservation, the Central Environmental Authority, the Inspector General of Police, the Attorney General, and several others as respondents.
The petitioner states that, under the guise of human-elephant conflict mitigation, trenches are being proposed to facilitate natural resource extraction from protected areas and soil and sand smuggling.
The petitioners further state that the digging of trenches has already commenced at Udawalawa National Park and Lunugamwehera National Park with plans for trenches to be dug along electric fence lines without any feasibility study, EIA, climate impact assessment, archaeological impact assessment, or recommendations by the relevant experts.
The petitioner further stated that it is reported that large-scale sand smuggling operations are being carried out under the guise of digging trenches for wild elephants in the Manampitiya and Karapola reserves on the border of the Flood Plains National Park, which is under the management of the Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The petitioner states that the trenches in wildlife landscapes impede the movement of all wildlife. The petitioner said elephants that fall into deep and narrow trenches will face severe injuries, including death.


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