The Wall vs Elephant, Elephant wins

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The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed an appeal filed by Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. (NRL) and ordered demolition of a 2.2-km boundary wall erected on an elephant migration corridor in eastern Assam’s Golaghat district.

Environmentalists had objected to the wall the refinery had erected in 2011 for a proposed township in – as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had observed later – a part of the Deopahar Reserve Forest.

The refinery received flak from wildlife activists when a seven-year-old male elephant died of haemorrhage in May 2015 after trying to force its way through the wall. Videos also captured herds trying to cross the high boundary wall with barbed wire in vain. In August 2016, the NGT ordered NRL to demolish the wall within a month, but only a 289-metre stretch was demolished.

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