GUWAHATI, Nov 4 - The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has expressed its dissatisfaction over the affidavit filed by the Assam Government on the issues of diversion of the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) stretch of the National Highway (NH37) and declaring an Eco Sensitive Zone around the National Park within a 10-km radius.
The State Government, in its affidavit, has prayed for more time for preparation of the detailed project report for diversion of the Kaziranga stretch of the NH37. The Government also stated in the affidavit that it has forwarded the draft proposal prepared by it on declaring the Eco Sensitive Zone around Kaziranga National Park within a 10-km radius, to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on October 15, 2015.
On the issue of hotels, resorts, etc., coming up in close proximity of the National Park, it has highlighted that under Section 25 (1)(a) and (b) and Section 25 (3)(c) of the Assam Panchayat Act, 1994, the Gaon Panchayats in their respective areas permit establishment of trades and collect taxes. Moreover, the State Government has also issued directions to register the hotels around the Kaziranga National Park under the Sarai Act, 1867.
The NGT, in its order in connection with the case � RA No. 25 of 2015 (MA No. 875 of 2015) in Original Application Number No 174 of 2013 (Rohit Choudhury versus Union of India and Others) � said on November 3: �We are not satisfied with this affidavit as it is not in compliance to the directions contained in the order as well as observations made by the Tribunal on the previous date of hearing�.
It further said, �To put to rest any doubts, we direct that the State of Assam shall submit its clear stand in relation to declaration of Eco Sensitive Zone, pattas which were primarily for agricultural purposes and at best incidental residential construction; and how it has resulted in State permitting large scale hotel projects in and around the Kaziranga National Park; and thirdly, what is the stand of the State in relation to the Kaziranga National Park being a protected area even as of today, and what will be the normal distances from the boundary of the Kaziranga National Park spelling out prohibited and regulatory zones in the light of the judgement of the Hon�ble Supreme Court of India. The State will also show as to how all these issues have also been dealt with in the proposed Eco Sensitive Zone notification.�
The matter has been listed for hearing on November 26, 2015 and the State�s Secretary, Environment and Forest Department, who submitted the affidavit, has been asked to be present, along with the Director of the Kaziranga National Park, before the Tribunal on that day.