GUWAHATI, April 16 - The Supreme Court has ordered immediate ban on all types of mining and related activities along the southern boundary of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNP) and also in the catchment areas of the rivers/streams and rivulets that originate in Karbi Anglong Hill ranges and flow into the KNP.
On April 12 last, the judgement of the Supreme Court came in the wake of report No. 6 of 2019 of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) in Application No. 1431 in Writ Petition (C) 202 of 1995 filed by Bokakhat (Assam)-based environmental activist Rohit Choudhury.
The major highlights of the judgement include banning all types of mining in Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong landscape, no permission for any kind of new construction activities on plots of land that form part of the nine identified animal corridors, Director General of Police (DGP), Assam and the Superintendents of Police (SPs) of Karbi Anglong, Nagaon, and Golaghat are to ensure that no illegal mining activity takes place in the Karbi Anglong Hills and no transportation of illegally-mined material takes place.
Meanwhile, Assam has prayed for three weeks time for filing its comments on the above CEC report. Notice has also been issued to the Department of Environment and Forests, Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council in this regard by the apex court.
It may be mentioned here that more than a year back, based on the complaint lodged by Rohit Choudhury, a team of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) undertook field visits to the adjoining areas of KNP. It recommended ban on all kinds of mining activities in Kaziranga landscape taking into consideration the long-term conservation of the world-famous Indian rhinoceros and tigers. However, the authorities concerned in Assam did not pay any heed to the NTCA report.
Vested interest circles involved in illegal mining activities in the Kaziranga - Karbi Anglong landscape had earlier tried to silence Rohit Choudhury by intimidation, social boycott and even threat of physical harm.
Speaking to this newspaper, Choudhury expressed the hope that with this judgement from the apex court, curtains will be drawn on all sorts of illegal mining activities in and around Kaziranga once for all.