GUWAHATI, Feb 22 - A Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Nelson Sailo, after hearing a Public Interest Litigation ( PIL No. 66/2013) filed by Homen Borgohain and three other persons, directed the State Govt as well as the Guwahati Municipal Corporation and GMDA to submit their affidavit on the issue of protection and conservation of wetlands in Guwahati city.
The PIL was filed for protection and conservation of wetlands in Guwahati city. The Director in the National River Conservation Department, Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change, has filed their affidavit. The Union Ministry has suggested to the State/Union Territories to accord high priority on their specified recommendations to constitute a wetland authority on the integrated management of lakes and wetlands in each state.
After hearing the PIL, the High Court recorded that the Assam Govt has yet to designate the wetland authority as was suggested by the Central Govt in November, 2013. It was also recorded that as far as specific water bodies of Guwahati are concerned, Deepor Beel is one of the 115 identified wetlands for conservation under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010, and the Central Govt has released Rs 362 lakh so far to the Assam government for proper upkeep of the Deepor Beel. But the utilisation certificate and physical progress report for Rs 50.34 lakh released eight years earlier, are yet to be forwarded by the State Govt.
In the affidavit submitted by the Central Govt authority, it was suggested that in so far as the Shilsako Beel, Bondajan Beel and Sola Beel (Borsola and Sorusola) are concerned, these are not designated as Ramsar sites and therefore, the Wetland Conservation Rules, 2010 is not applicable for these water bodies and the Central Govt has taken the stand that these water bodies are the responsibility of the State Govt and the local authorities.
The case is fixed on March 23, for filing of response by the State Govt and its local authorities.