NEW DELHI, Dec 9 - The National Green Tribunal (NGT) today castigated the Assam Government for its failure to curb encroachments and commercial activities on National Highway 37, which passes through the Kaziranga National Park (KNP).
�There are large numbers of dhabas and restaurants in the animal corridors. We don�t understand why you are arguing unnecessarily that there are no dhabas. Our expert member has himself seen it. You check the areas and roads through which the animals pass.
�Have you fixed sensor-operated automatic barriers at the animal corridors? You better fix it before next date of hearing or else we will shut down your road. Our intention is that the park and animals should be protected,� a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The remarks came even as the State Government�s Road and Transport Department submitted a fresh proposal before the NGT, projecting installation of sensor-based barricade within a specific time-frame along the National Highway within the park area.
The green panel also directed the Director of Kaziranga National Park, MK Yadava, to submit a comprehensive report �dealing with the various aspects, including hotels and projects and other commercial activities which are coming up within 10 km of the boundary of the national park� within two weeks.
�In his report, he shall also deal with the issue of stone crushers and other such activities, if any,� the bench said while posting the matter for next hearing on January 19.
The Tribunal also asked the State Government to apprise it about steps it has taken with regard to prevention of animal deaths on the roads by vehicular traffic and file a comprehensive report on it.
It had earlier directed the State Government to clear its stand on eco-sensitive zones and how it has permitted large-scale hotel projects to come up in and around the park, known as home to the famous one-horned rhinos.
The Tribunal�s direction came during a hearing on a plea filed by environmentalist Rohit Choudhury.
The NGT had earlier ordered a ban on roadside shops and eateries along the animal corridors near Kaziranga, among a slew of directions in the wake of increasing wildlife casualties due to vehicular movement on the adjacent highway.