The Gauhati High Court has issued stay order on the Environmental clearance given to Oil India Limited for exploration and drilling of seven hydrocarbon projects in the Dibru Saikhowa National Park.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), a bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising of Chief Justice (Acting) N Kotishwar Singh and Justice Sri Manish Choudhury gave the decision.

The bench had stayed the Environmental Clearance dated May 11, 2020 for non-compliance of the Order dated September 7, 2017 of the Supreme Court passed in IA no 3934 in WP(C) no 202/2015 which required the OIL to conduct the Bio Diversity Impact Assessment study.

In 2017, the Supreme Court had asked OIL to prepare and submit a biodiversity impact assessment to the Assam State Biodiversity Board.

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In an affidavit submitted on November 17 to the High Court, the Forest department mentioned that an amount of Rs 22 lakh was given to the OIL for conducting biodiversity impact study.

However, the State forest department said that OIL is yet to conduct the study.

While on the other hand, OIL stated that they will not go for any drilling till they comply with the Supreme Court’s direction.

Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is spread across Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts in Upper Assam, around 521km from Guwahati.

It is designated as a biosphere reserve and houses many endangered species and is rich in fish diversity.

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Originally created to help conserve the habitat of the rare white-winged wood duck, the park is also home to other rare creatures such as water buffalo, black-breasted parrot bill, tiger and capped langur. The park also has some eco lodges.

It is also known for its huge population of feral horses.

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