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Amchang wildlife sanctuary demarcation: Submit report in a week: Gauhati High Court to CS

A division bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Manish Choudhury told the Chief Secretary, Assam

Gauhati High

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  19 Sep 2021 2:07 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: A division bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Manish Choudhury told the Chief Secretary, Assam that "we (the Court) would require the reconstituted committee to submit a report by next week so that, this Court will be apprised of the steps undertaken for conducting the demarcation survey (of Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary) without any further delay".

This matter pertains to encroachment in Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary. The Gauhati High Court by various orders had desired proper demarcation of a sanctuary to identify the encroachers.

"In the last order passed by this Court on 06.08.2021, this Court keeping in mind the earlier orders had appointed a committee to be headed by the Chief Secretary, Government of Assam, in which the Principal Secretary/Secretary Revenue, Government of Assam as well as Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Assam shall also be members. The Court also observed that the survey will be conducted by the Department of Survey, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India. Accordingly, this Court directed that necessary exercise should be undertaken within 4 (four) weeks.

"Today (September 14, 2021), we have been informed by the learned Advocate General on the strength of an additional affidavit filed on 10.09.2021 that in terms of the direction of this Court on 06.08.2021, the committee was constituted and held its meeting on 31.08.2021… From a perusal of the minutes of the meeting, it appears that a representative of the Survey of India viz. Sri V. Rao, Director of Assam-Nagaland, Geo-Spatial Data Centre, Survey of India, Department of Science & Technology, Guwahati had attended the meeting who also had informed the headquarters of the order passed by this Court for taking necessary action. It appears that thereafter, the Chief Secretary of the State of Assam had written to the Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Science & Technology, New Delhi on 02.09.2021 of the direction of this Court for carrying out demarcation survey and of the order passed by this Court giving the last opportunity for doing the same. Another letter was also written to the Surveyor General of India, Dehradun about the urgent necessity for completing the demarcation. Pursuant thereto a letter was received from the Surveyor of India written by the Director of Assam-Nagaland, Geo-Spatial Data Centre, Survey of India, Department of Science & Technology, Guwahati requesting for making the following available to the Survey of India:

(1) Maps and Records about Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary;

(2) Deputation of officers in the field for the identification of boundary pillars and assistance in the fieldwork; and (3) Proper security for a survey of India staff during fieldwork.

"It was informed that because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the rains in this region, the initiation of fieldwork may get delayed but an attempt would be made to complete the same within 3 (three) months, which was followed by another letter from the Director of Survey of India, Assam-Nagaland, Geo-Spatial Data Centre, Survey of India, Department of Science & Technology, Guwahati for providing of documents, maps (hard copy and soft copy), etc.

"It has been submitted by Mr R.K.D. Choudhury learned ASGI representing the Survey of India that the documents so received from the State authorities are inadequate and there are mismatches in the documents because of which undertaking of demarcation will be delayed.

"We are also of the view that though this Court did not specifically mention any representative of the Survey of India to be a Member of the Committee so constituted by order dated 06.08.2021, considering the submissions advanced and also development which has taken place, it would be more appropriate that a representative of the Survey of India also should be made a member of the said committee and accordingly, we would modify the said order dated 06.08.2021 by directing that the Director of Assam-Nagaland, Geo-Spatial Data Centre, Survey of India, Department of Science & Technology, who is located in Guwahati will also be a member of the said committee to have a better understanding and coordination as it would involve proper coordination between the Survey of India and the State officials for carrying out the demarcation exercise. Considering the importance and urgency of the matter, we would require the re-constituted committee to submit a report by next week so that, this Court will be apprised of the steps undertaken for conducting the demarcation survey without any further delay."

The High Court listed the matter for hearing on September 27, 2021. "The Chief Secretary, Government of Assam will submit the report regarding the course of action and timeline of the demarcation exercise which is to be undertaken in terms of this Court's order," the High Court said.

Also Read: Gauhati High Court appoints committee to demarcate boundary of Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary

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