NEW DELHI, Sept 18 - Perturbed over the death of a number of animals in road accidents, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Assam Government to provide the exact number of animal casualties so far due to traffic movement on the National Highway-37 at the Kaziranga National Park (KNP).
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar further directed the State Government to apprise it of the progress made in installation of sensor-operated automated traffic barriers to prevent these deaths.
It directed the Sarbananda Sonowal-led Government and the KNP Director to inform it on �how many animals have died because of vehicular movement along the highway.�
�The State shall produce original records before us to show what steps in terms of the previous orders of the Tribunal have been taken for installation of sensor barriers for preventing animal conflict. They will also show how many vehicles with interceptor speed sensors have been installed and deployed mainly in KNP and how many challans were effected from the date of directions till today. Let all information with original record be placed before the Tribunal on September 30,� the bench said.
Referring to the Detailed Project Report (DPR) on measures to curb growing wildlife deaths, the NGT said the document should be prepared in consultation with the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.
The Tribunal had earlier directed the Assam Government to expeditiously prepare the DPR and summoned its top officials to inform it about the compliance of its earlier orders on the issue. It also directed the Union Ministry to give clear instructions as to whether or not it proposed to issue any draft notification in regard to the Kaziranga Eco Sensitive Zone.
The Tribunal�s direction came during a hearing on a plea filed by environmentalist Rohit Choudhury, opposing the expansion of the NH-37 which passes from Jakhalabandha to Bokakhat through the KNP. During the last date of hearing, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry had told the bench that the DPR prepared by the State Government had been approved.
The NGT had ordered demolition of roadside shops and eateries along the animal corridors near the KNP, among a slew of directions in the wake of increasing wildlife casualties due to vehicular movement on the adjacent highway. The Gauhati High Court, however, stayed the order on demolishing shops and dhabas located within 100 metres of the NH-37. The green panel also asked the Sonowal Government to ensure fixation of sensor-operated automatic barriers at the animal corridors and ascertain whether speed-check cameras were in working condition or not.