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Rs 1.45 cr spent on installation of animal sensor barriers at KNP: govt
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, Dec 7 - The State Government has already spent an amount of Rs 1.45 crore on installation of animal sensor barriers at Malini in the Kaziranga National Park stretch of NH-37. Another amount of Rs 39 lakh will be required for purchase of two additional thermal cameras for installation in the same place.

This was stated by the State Government on Tuesday in its reply affidavit placed before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in the case related to Application No. 174 of 2013 concerning the Kaziranga National Park (KNP). The application was filed by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury.

The State Government has also submitted an alternative proposal for engaging additional manpower in the national park to check speeding vehicles on the NH-37 stretch.

The reply affidavit of the State Government, signed by Joydeep Shukla, Deputy Secretary, General Administrative Department, Government of Assam, Assam Bhawan, New Delhi, has stated that since the installation of one animal sensor barrier costs an amount of Rs 1.94 crore on the national park stretch of NH-37, a letter was sent by the Director of the KNP on September 9, 2017 to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) for sanction and release of the aforesaid Rs 39 lakh and another amount of Rs 11.04 crore.

Since the above fund is currently not available in the Budget, the State Government has decided to submit a supplementary demand in the next session of the Assembly commencing in the current month. Accordingly, order is being issued to the PCCF for submission of draft supplementary demands, said the State Government in its affidavit.

The contract amount of the Animal Sensor Barrier was Rs 1,21,00276 (Rupees one crore twenty one lakhs two hundred and seventy six) for just 300-metre stretch with an AMC of Rs 12, 10,028 (Rupees twelve lakhs ten thousand and twenty eight rupees). Apart from the above, the authority concerned has spent Rs 25, 27,390 (Rupees twenty five thousand twenty seven thousand and three hundred and ninety) for construction of gantries and signages, etc. The set-up also requires a technical manpower in control room for operations, which brings in additional running cost. The same has also been projected in the assessment report of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) along with other observations.

Considering this, the State Government submitted an alternative proposal before the NGT for its consideration.

The proposal is for additional manpower to be engaged to monitor the animal corridors stretch of the NH-37. Additional home guards/ casual labourers, if engaged, will be an efficient means to control the speed of vehicles on the national highway and bring an end to the killing of the KNP animals by he speeding vehicles. This solution is expected to be cost-effective.

The additional manpower in the highway can also be used for anti-poaching duty in the KNP along the NH-37, the State Government said in its affidavit.

However, this will cost the Department an estimated additional cost of Rs 64 lakh a year. Since the pre-feasibility report and the detailed project report for constructing the overbridge on the NH-37 are already in progress, manning the road for a year on experimental basis may be permitted, in lieu of installation of automated animal sensor barriers in different animal corridors in the NH stretch of the national park, for year by the NGT, said the State Government in its affidavit.

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