Take action against illegal construction along animal corridors in Kaziranga National Park: Supreme Court panel tells Assam government

05:05 PM Oct 23, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

New Delhi: The Central Empowered Committee (CEC), constituted by the Supreme Court, has asked the Assam government to take action against illegal constructions in the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve.

The CEC, in a letter to the Assam chief secretary, said an action taken report should be submitted to the panel within four weeks on the illegal constructions along animal corridors in the national park.


"I am forwarding herewith a copy of letter dated September 10, 2021 received from Dr. Hemen Hazarika, Scientist 'D' Head of office, IRO, Guwahati O/o the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Regional Office, Guwahati, Government of India on the above subject.


"It is requested that immediate action is taken to remove all constructions made in violation of the Supreme Court order dated April 12, 2019 and not to permit any new constructions along the nine identified animal corridors. An action taken report may please be sent to the CEC within the next four weeks," the letter by CEC Member-Secretary Amarnatha Shetty dated October 6 said.

Hazarika's letter was based on a report filed by Laetitia J. Syiemiong, Deputy Inspector-General of Forest (Central) after inspecting the wildlife corridor. "Inspection was done and at field level after traversing the entire 8 (eight) stretch of animal corridors, where it was found that there has been illegal construction all along. Hence, there has been 'contempt of hon'ble Supreme Court order dated l2.04.2019"on I. A. No. 42944/20)9 on WP(C) 202/1995' which had other than banning all types of mining, had also 'not permitted any new construction including on private lands which form part of the 9 identified animal corridors'," the report filed by DIGF said.

The report was submitted in response to a complaint by environment activist Rohit Choudhury who sought action against illegal constructions in the animal corridors in contempt of the top court order.

Kaziranga National Park

Kaziranga National is situated in Assam and has an area of 430 square kilometer area sprinkled with elephant-grass meadows, swampy lagoons, and dense forests. It is home to more than 2,200 Indian one-horned rhinoceros, approximately 2/3rd of their total world population. Formed in 1908, the park is located in the edge of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots – Golaghat and Nagaon district. In 1985, the park was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The park is also the breeding ground of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer. Over the time, the tiger population has also increased in Kaziranga, and that’s the reason why Kaziranga was declared as Tiger Reserve in 2006.

The apex court in its 2019 order had ordered that "no new construction shall be permitted on private lands which form part of the nine identified animal corridors". The top court had also banned all mining activities along the Kaziranga National Park and catchment area of rivers originating in Karbi Anglong Hills in Assam. "We order that all kinds of mining and related activities along the aforesaid Kaziranga National Park area and in the entire catchment area of rivers/streams and rivulets originating in Karbi Anglong Hill ranges and flowing into the Kaziranga National Park, including Tiger Reserve are restrained," the top court had said.

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