Violating SC order, illegal structures continue on Kaziranga animal corridors
The field director of the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) in a report to Assam’s principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden revealed that except the boundary wall of a resort, all other illegal structures were still ‘not removed’ or ‘continuing’.
GUWAHATI: In violation of Supreme Court orders, 21 of the 22 illegal constructions, including a government guest house, on the animal corridors in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) are yet to be removed, revealed an action taken report by KNPTR field director.
In April 2019, the SC banned all new constructions on the animal corridors and ordered removal of the existing structures. The constructions impact movement of wild animals from the park especially during the annual floods that submerge a large portion of KNPTR.
The February 15 report by KNPTR field director P Sivakumar on action taken against illegal constructions revealed that except the boundary wall of a resort in the Haldhibari corridor in Golaghat district, all other structures were still “not removed” or “continuing”. HT has seen a copy of the report.
The report, addressed to Assam’s principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) and chief wildlife warden MK Yadava, mentions in detail about the constructions on six of the nine corridors located in Nagaon, Karbi Anglong (East) and Golaghat districts.
They include a government guest house located in Haldhibari, a wine shop, 6 vehicle parking spots, five resorts, residential buildings, a marriage hall, two restaurants, a cafe and a hotel.
In his report, Sivakumar asked Yadava to request the Assam government “to issue necessary instructions” to district authorities to “remove illegal construction and to ban vehicle parking on the animal corridors and also stop clearing of natural patches and earth cutting”.
On November 3 last year, Assam sought 3 months’ time from the Supreme Court-appointed central empowered committee (CEC) to remove encroachments and constructions from the animal corridors. But it failed to keep the deadline.
The state government’s assurance came following directions by CEC in October to remove all constructions on the animal corridors. The move followed a report filed in September which indicated that despite the SC ruling in April 2019 new structures had cropped up in these areas in contempt of the apex court order.
In September, a report (prepared on directions of CEC) by Laetitia J. Syiemiong, deputy inspector general of forest (central) of the Shillong office of Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change, had detected violations of the SC ruling in eight of the nine animal corridors.