Show-cause to encroachers, detailed project report sought from Dispur on CAG recommendations, concern at non-release of Central funds to Kaziranga-Mas
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, April 23: Taking a tough stance, the tiol Green Tribul has issued notices to the encroachers in Kaziranga tiol Park, asking why they should not be made to pay compensation for damaging the environment.
The order was passed by NGT Judge Justice UD Salve while hearing a petition filed by activist Rohit Choudhury.
“We have before us list of encroachers and the extent of encroachments made by them in the Kaziranga tiol Park (listed in the CAG performance audit of Kaziranga). Let the State of Assam take positive action in respect of the recommendations made in the performance audit of Kaziranga tiol Park and place before us the action taken report within three weeks from today,” Justice Salve said in his order.
The court issued notices to the encroachers med in the CAG report to show cause why they should not be made to pay compensation for damaging the environment.
The showcause notice should be replied within the next date of hearing fixed for May 26.
The NGT said that on March 19, the Ministry of Environment and Forests had sent a letter to the Chief Secretary of Assam “wherein grievance is voiced regarding release of the funds to the two tiger reserves mely Kaziranga Tiger Reserve and Mas Tiger Reserve”.
“In the present case, we are more concerned about the Kaziranga Tiger Reserve. We find from this communication that despite release of the funds, the State of Assam has delayed its utilization and/or completely neglected its release to tiger reserves. We find that funds released on February 25, 2015, March 13, 2015 and November 19, 2014 to the State of Assam by the RBI, have not been released to the tiger reserves for its proper utilisation. This is certainly going to effect the implementation of the measures which are expected to be taken in the interest of the Kaziranga tiol Park. We direct the State of Assam to release these funds made available to them by the RBI within two weeks if not released,” the order stated.
The CAG report had made several recommendations for long terms measures for protection of the Unesco World Heritage Site. The NGT directed the Assam government to come up with a detailed project report in light of the recommendations within three months.
CAG recommendations which were reproduced by the NGT are:
* In view of the Government of India directive of July 2013, a default area of 10 km from the park boundary may be declared as eco-sensitive zone and action as per the points prescribed in the guidelines of GoI taken immediately.
* Construction of resorts/hotels without permission of the park authorities, change in the land use pattern of two resorts by the Circle Office, Bokakhat and encroachment of Government land by resorts/hotels need to be investigated upon.
* The entire stretch of NH 37 from Burapahar to Bokakhat needs to be freed from illegal encroachments and the dhabas, parking of trucks need to be cleared immediately. All constructions made on either sides of the NH along with validity of the people residing in these areas, need to be examined in co-ordition with the Circle Offices Bokakhat and Kaliabor with reference to the land holdings, permissions, etc and all illegal constructions/persons removed from the area within a fixed time-frame.
* Government orders banning parking of trucks, establishment of dhabas, construction without prior permission from KNP authorities along NH 37 from Burapahar to Bokakhat and mining activities in the Karbi Anglong Hills adjacent to NH 37, need to be issued immediately to prevent further urbanisation and disturbance to the wildlife habitat”.