National Green Tribunal asks Assam to release funds for Kaziranga, Manas parks

  • National Green Tribunal asks Assam to release funds for Kaziranga, Manas parks
23-04-2015 , :: . |

The National Green Tribunal today pulled up the Assam government for its failure to release funds for protection of wildlife in Kaziranga and Manas national parks and directed it to make the amount available in two weeks.

A bench headed by Justice U D Salvi came down heavily on the state for failing to act against encroachments in the national park and ordered it to submit action taken report regarding the extent of encroachments in four weeks.

"Our attention is drawn to a communication dated March 19, 2015 by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to the chief secretary of Assam government wherein a grievance is voiced regarding release of funds to the tiger reserves.

"We find that despite release of funds, Assam government either delayed its utilisation or did not utilise at all... This is certainly going to effect the implementation of measures which are expected to be taken in the interest of Kaziranga National Park. We direct Assam to make these funds available to the concerned within two weeks, if not released, the bench said.

During the hearing, advocate Ritwick Dutta, appearing for Choudhary, said that the "nothing concrete" has been put forward by Assam government to contain the encroachments in the national park.

He alleged that despite the tribunal's direction, a number of eateries and dhabas were operating along the highway.

The tribunal had earlier ordered a ban on roadside shops and eateries along the animal corridors near Kaziranga among a slew of directions in the wake of increasing wildlife casualties due to vehicular movement on the adjacent highway.

It had also asked the Assam government to ensure fixation of sensor-operated automatic barriers at the animal corridors and ascertain whether speed check cameras were in working condition or not.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by environmentalist and RTI activist Rohit Choudhury opposing expansion of the NH-37 which passes through Jakhalabandha to Bokakhat through Kaziranga Park.

Choudhury, who is opposing expansion of the highway stretch, has claimed that "continued unregulated use of NH-37 is leading to death of wild animals and reptiles in large numbers in road accidents".

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