Kaziranga

The Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has directed the Assam government to remove illegal constructions in the identified wildlife corridors of the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve.

In a letter to Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah on October 6, CEC Member-Secretary Amarnatha Shetty sought action taken report from the government within four weeks.

The development came after the CEC  received a report from Hemen Hazarika, scientist and head of the Guwahati-based Integrated Regional Office of the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on September 10.

The report mentioned that there was a gross violation of the court’s order on April 12, 2019.

In August, Deputy Inspector-General of Forest (Central) Laetita J Syiemiong, representing the environment ministry, surveyed the construction on the corridors based on a complaint by Rohit Choudhury, an activist from Assam.

In her report, Syiemiong had mentioned that a temple, shops, hotels, restaurants, tea estates and even a government building were built on the eight corridors. Other constructions include a wedding hall, a resort, and a house owned by a local minister. The majority of the constructions were found in Haldibari and Kanchanjuris corridors.

“Apart from illegal construction, the greatest eyesore and also a threat to the animals of Kaziranga National Park is the presence of trucks, etc.

“ In the recent past it has been observed that trucks, tankers and other vehicles are stopping to park in roadsides… and creating unnecessary hindrance to wild animal movement from Kaziranga National Park to Karbi Anglong hillside,” the report said.

“Because of this, the number of hotels/dhabas are increasing day by day and… it seems like the said dhabas especially are chopping firewood from the trees of Karbi-Anglong hillside illegally,” it added.

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