TEZPUR, April 1 - The Industries & Commerce Department, Government of Assam, has refused permission for construction of any industry including a �food park� by anyone including the Nezone Foods at the Na-Ali-Depota elephant corridor in Sonitpur district here, in a victory of sorts for common people, public organisations and nature-loving bodies. A letter issued by the Additional Secretary to the department stated that as per the report of the Conservator of Forest (WL), the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (WL) and the Chief Wildlife Warden, Assam the CLU (Change of Land Use) of M/s Nezon Food Park to �Industrial land� is not possible as the said area falls within the wildlife elephant passage of Nameri-Sonai Riupai-Arimora Chapori elephant corridor. �But cultivation of agricultural crops can be carried out without putting any kind of barrier against the movement of wild elephants,� the report said.
It is to be mentioned here that the Depota-Na Ali area, on the outskirts of Tezpur town has been reserved as corridor of wild elephants by the Forest department for years and �Nezon Foods� planned to construct a �food park� in the area. Different nature-loving organisations and student organisations had expressed their grave concern over the issue and urged the authority concerned to intervene to save the wild jumbos.
Due to blocking of elephant corridors in the district in the name of industrialisation by various entities at Balipara and other areas, wild elephant herds have lost their grazing grounds which has resulted in mayhem in the concerned villages. Many lives too have been lost in this connection till date.
In this connection, besides the Tezpur unit of the AASU, many other organisations too had submitted representations to the concerned agencies to thwart the proposed industrialisation move. The Tezpur unit of AASU had alleged that the above-cited industrial concern in nexus with some local unscrupulous elements was trying to encroach upon the elephant corridor in the Bihaguri-Na Ali area for commercial benefit. The AASU unit alleged that classification of such land has been covertly changed and lands are being purchased illegally by some dishonest people in nexus with officials of the circle offices in the district and construction work started leading to an even more chaotic situation than earlier. It is also alleged that despite repeated pleas to the administration to keep the areas obstacle-free, violating all official norms, roadside agricultural land along National Highway-15 have been earth-filled within the night for construction work till Thelamara area in Sonitpur district. Presently, such land is being purchased by some industrialists by changing its classification, all for commercial benefit. As a result of this unscrupulous activity, wild elephant herds are compelled to use risk-zones like railway tracks in search for fodder and shelter, resulting in their being mowed down by speeding trains.
Expressing their gratitude towards the Industries and Commerce department against the move today, the AASU, Tezpur unit, various nature-loving organisations, wild life rescuer and honorary wildlife warden for the district said that every responsible person should come forward to save wildlife including the pachyderms.