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CEC asks Chief Wildlife Warden to submit report without delay

By Ajit Patowary

GUWAHATI, Aug 25 - The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) constituted by the Supreme Court has asked the Chief Wildlife Warden of Assam to submit its report on the allegation of illegal construction on the Kanchanjuri Animal Corridor of Kaziranga National Park (KNP) �without further delay.�

The CEC, it may be mentioned, was constituted by the apex court vide writ petitions No. 202/95 and 171/96.

RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury has alleged that a socially influential person has been raising a structure on the Kanchanjuri Animal Corridor of the KNP and the authorities concerned have been turning a blind eye to it, allowing the construction of the said structure to proceed without any hindrance.

Choudhury said that the Supreme Court has already banned all sorts of new construction activities on the animal corridors of Kaziranga National Park through its order passed on April 12, 2019.

The apex court said in its above order, �No new construction shall be permitted on private lands which form part of the nine identified animal corridors of Kaziranga National Park, Assam.�

When his efforts at mobilising support from the local authorities, including the Forest Department officials, to stop construction of that structure failed, Choudhury moved the CEC on June 30 last with a complaint, alleging construction of a �huge building� on the Kanchanjuri Animal Corridor of Kaziranga National Park in blatant violation of the apex court�s order.

He pleaded for initiation of contempt proceedings against the contemnors, including the Government officials and the �powerful person� involved in this �illegal� act and steps to demolish this structure.

The nine corridors referred to in the apex court�s order are the lifeline for the wildlife of Kaziranga National Park, particularly the long-ranging species like elephants and tigers, among other forms of wildlife, Choudhury said in his complaint.

Choudhury also alleged that construction of this structure is very much visible from the busy National Highway-37 and hence there cannot be any doubt that this violation is taking place in connivance with officials of the civil administration of Nagaon district, particularly those of Kaliabor Civil and Revenue authority, Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, Eastern Assam Wildlife Division, Nagaon (Territorial) Division of the Forest Department and the Police Department.

This act of violation of the apex court order was brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary of Assam, but to no avail, Choudhury alleged.

Following this complaint of the RTI-cum-environment activist, the CEC in turn sought a �factual report� from the State�s Chief Wildlife Warden on Choudhury�s complaint. However, the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State is yet to send the report sought for by the CEC.

Following this, the CEC in its August 24 letter (F. No. 3-1/CEC/SC/2018) to the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State stated, �Your report on the same is not yet received by the CEC. The allegation, if found correct, amounts to contempt of the Supreme Court order. You are therefore once again requested to submit the report without further delay.�

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