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NGT orders surprise inspection on NH through Kaziranga Park

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed surprise inspection on the national highway passing through the Kaziranga National Park in Assam to curb encroachments, including hotels and other commercial activities, on the road.
A bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, directed the Director of Kaziranga National Park, M K Yadava, to inspect National Highway-37 which passes from Jakhalabandha to Bokakhat through the Kaziranga Park.
The green panel also directed Yadava to submit a comprehensive affidavit “dealing with the various aspects including hotels and projects and other commercial activity which are coming up within 10 km of the boundary of the national park”.
“He shall also file a list of such constructions or activity which are offending the distance of 10km as contemplated under the orders of the Supreme Court of India,” the bench said.
It also asked Assam government to apprise it about steps it has taken with regard to prevention of animal deaths on the roads by vehicular traffic.
The bench directed the Secretary from Assam government, senior officer from Ministry of Surface and Road Transport and the Director of Kaziranga National Park to be be present in person on December 9, 2015, the next date of hearing.
The Tribunal had earlier directed Assam government to clear its stand on eco-sensitive zones and how it has permitted large-scale hotel projects to come up in and around the Kaziranga National Park -home to the famous one-horned rhinos.
The Tribunal’s direction came during a hearing on a plea filed by environmentalist Rohit Choudhury opposing expansion of NH-37 which passes from Jakhalabandha to Bokakhat through the Kaziranga Park.
The green bench had expressed its dissatisfaction over the report filed by Assam government with regard to eco-sensitive zones saying it was not in compliance with earlier directions and orders.
The panel had further asked Assam government to explain its stand on the Kaziranga National Park being a protected area and the normal distances from the boundary of the national park clearly showing prohibited and regulatory zones with respect to the Supreme Court’s verdict.
The ational Green Tribunal had on September 30 pulled up Assam government for delay in preparing a project report on measures to curb growing wildlife casualties due to vehicular movement on the national highway passing through the Kaziranga National Park. (PTI)

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