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NGT defers proceedings against KNP encroachment

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Feb 26 - The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today deferred its proceedings on the case of encroachment of the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) till March 30, after being informed about a stay order by the Gauhati High Court.

The NGT has not acted upon its earlier order of January 19, in the face of the stay order passed by the Gauhati High Court, Upamanyu Hazarika, who moved the petition in the case, said.

On January 19, the NGT at New Delhi had passed an order stating that all shops and dhabas within 100 metres of National Highway-37 from Jakhalabanda to Bokakhat and all such establishment within 500 metres of boundary of the National Park are liable to be demolished on the basis of an affidavit filed by the Government of Assam through the Director, KNP. Against this, writ petitions were filed before the Gauhati High Court, which stayed the demolition and proceedings before the NGT.

Hazarika said that the entire basis of the NGT order is the affidavit of the State government, which jeopardises the livelihood and existence of the local population in the 140-km stretch between Jakhalabanda to Bokakhat.

The affidavit of the State government has concealed that on the very same issue, the Gauhati High Court in different PILs since 2012, has passed orders on encroachment on animal corridors along the entire stretch of National Highway-37 from Jakhalabanda to Bokakhat, said Hazarika.

When one Court of superior jurisdiction, as the High Court, is seized of the same subject matter prior in point of time on which orders have been passed, any other Court and more so, an inferior tribunal like the National Green Tribunal refrain from passing orders. This was, however, concealed in the affidavit of the State government filed by the Director, Kaziranga National Park before the National Green Tribunal, contended Hazarika.

The entire stretch of population between Jakhalabanda to Bokakhat survives on Kaziranga and tourism and if the order of the National Green Tribunal is given effect to, it would jeopardize the livelihood of a large population, said Hazarika.

Moreover, it is the local population that protects Kaziranga National Park because of which there has been a huge increase in the number of flora and fauna of all types, including rhinos, tigers, etc. It is pertinent to mention that only in the areas where illegal migrants are present, is where poaching as well as encroachment on land takes place and very little is done by the State government against such illegal migrants, argued Hazarika.

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