GUWAHATI, Sept 3 � The industrial units located in the eco-sensitive zone of Kaziranga National Park (KNP) have been operating in clear violation of the legal provisions and the government authorities concerned have also failed to take any actions against these units despite there being written complaints, alleged environment and RTI activist Rohit Choudhury.
Choudhury, who is fighting a legal battle against all the anti-environment-friendly activities in this zone, also alleged that the authorities have allowed these units to violate even the orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The authorities, in a bid to cover-up such nefarious activities, have also been trying to evade the queries made by him through RTI applications, alleged Choudhury.
While the authorities under both the State and the Central governments attract actions under Section 26 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, the owners of the industrial units (stone crushers, bitumen hot-mix plants, brick kilns, oil mills and others) are operating in clear violation of the NGT orders. Section 26 of the said legislation describes such acts as offences punishable with imprisonment for a period which may be extended up to three years and with fine which may be extended up to Rs 10 crore or with both, said Choudhury.
As per the NGT order dated September 7, 2012, Choudhury had filed an RTI application with the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) requesting for the copy of the Comprehensive Action Plan and Monitoring Mechanism prepared by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, for implementation of the conditions stipulated in the 1996 notification specifying �No Development Zone� and for inspection, verification and monitoring of the prohibitions stated in the notification.�And, following no answer from the Ministry, he filed the first appeal on the matter on February 11 this year.
Choudhury filed another RTI application with the Department of Environment and Forests, Government of Assam on February 24, 2014 on the same issue. He filed the First Appeal on the matter on April 9, 2014, but no information has been provided to him as yet. He was informed through a communication on May 22 last that �the required information as sought for on the point No.1 and 2 are under process for which the information could not be provided.�
In the third RTI application filed with the Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) on February 12, 2014, and the First Appeal filed thereon on March 29 in respect to the KNP Eco-sensitive Zone, 2014, the PCBA informed him on April 10, 2014 � �No step has been taken by the PCB, Assam to install necessary pollution control equipment as the Board office didn�t allow the units to operate� and �As the Board didn�t allow the units to operate, so the inspection matter does not arise.�
Choudhury claims that contrary to the PCBA statement, the units in question are continuing with their industrial activities.