New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has slammed 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.
The green panel took exception to the fact that it had directed the state government on April 22 to come up with a detailed project report (DPR) within three months, but no such report has been filed yet.
"Secretary, Environment and Forest, Assam will file a personal affidavit stating as to why the DPR in relation to construction of the road has not been filed. Further, he shall advert to all the issues that have been raised in the order of the Tribunal passed in the present case," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The NGT also directed Ministry of Environment and Forests to take clear instructions as to whether or not it proposed to issue any draft notification in relation to Kaziranga Eco Sensitive Zone.
"Further, if MoEF has issued any guidelines with regard to activity that can be carried out or the construction that can be raised in or around the Kaziranga National Park," the bench said while seeking its reply by November 3.
The Assam government had earlier told the bench that DPR is to be prepared in consultation with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun and the Director of 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.
It 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.
The green panel 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.