SC Bans Mining Along Kaziranga National Park; No Construction In Nine Animal Corridors [Read Order]
In a major boost to conservation of wildlife in this UNESCO world heritage site, the Supreme Court has banned mining and related activities along the Kaziranga National Park & Tiger Reserve (KNP) and in the catchment area of the rivers/streams and rivulets which originate in the Karbi Anglong Hill ranges and flow into the park.
A bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta ordered that "that all kind of mining and related activities along the Kaziranga National Park area and in the entire catchment area of rivers/streams and rivulets originating in Karbi Anglong Hill ranges and flowing into Kaziranga National Park, including Tiger Reserve are restrained.
"No new construction shall be permitted on private lands which form part of the nine identified animal corridors".
The bench has directed the Director General of Police, Assam, and the Superintendent of Police concerned to ensure that no illegal mining takes place in the area and no transportation of illegally-mined material take place from Karbi Anglong Hills.
The order of the court came in an application moved by environment activist Rohit Choudhury who has been making effort towards conserving wildlife in KNP, which is home to the largest population of one-horned rhinoceros, and the regions around it.
As part of his application, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) published a report on March 1 recommending a ban on all mining activities and ban on all constructions in nine animal corridors.
The report was taken cognizance of by the apex court.
It is to be noted that recently the court had refused to stay the demolition of a wall that had come up in an elephant corridor as part of a township project of miniratna PSU Numaligarh Refinery.
The same was also ordered to be demolished after Choudhury moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and shared the plight of pachyderms banging head against the wall to reach their source of water and food.
The legal battle against mining in the region saw Choudhury facing death threats and social boycott. However, the CEC report and the apex court order put the onus on the government machinery to act.
Meanwhile, the Assam government has sought three weeks to respond to the CEC report.
Read the Order Here