GUWAHATI, Aug 10 - The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today enlisted the Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) as respondent No. 5 in the main matter of the Original Application No. 38 of 2011 (Rohit Choudhury versus Union of India and Others) and Miscellaneous Application No. 787 of 2015 connected with the No Development Zone around the Kaziranga National Park (KNP).
The NGT also maintained that the interim order dated August 5, 2015 would continue. The interim order stayed all construction activities on the extended NRL township. �We further direct that no activity of any kind would be carried by Numaligarh Refinery Limited in the no-development zone in Kaziranga National Park until further orders.
�The State of Assam shall produce original records including any environmental clearance and clearance from the National Wildlife Board, if given,� said the NGT in its order today and listed the matter for hearing on September 9 next.
Significantly, the counsel appearing for the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) today drew the notice of the NGT to the letter written by the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Golaghat to the Deputy Commissioner (DC), Golaghat, which stated that the land acquired by the Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) is in clear violation of the established laws, rules and conditions. According to these officers, the whole areas are acting together to preserve the biodiversity available there.
The allotment of land and the subsequent construction of huge boundary wall by the refinery have been proving disastrous to such natural system. There are a number of alternatives for the refinery. The loss of critical forest, animal corridors, biodiversity and ecosystem cannot be recreated.
The refinery should have developed waste land and build its township and definitely not by destroying eco-sensitive area. This letter depicts the sensitiveness and substantialties of the environmental issue involved and even support the case of the application to a large extent.
However, the counsel appearing on behalf of the NRL submitted that some facts of this letter were not correct and he wished to file the reply. The counsels appearing for other respondents also prayed for time to file replies.
The NGT directed the respondents to file their replies within two weeks from today with advance copies to the learned counsel appearing for the applicant, who may file rejoinder(s) thereto, if any, within one week thereafter, said the NGT.