|PSU activities in Dehing-Patkai wildlife sanctuary|
NEW DELHI, Feb 4 – Taking cognizance of a petition alleging that activities of some PSUs in and around the Dehing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary in Tinsukia district have been affecting the environment, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday sought responses from the Centre and the Assam Government.
Acting on the petition filed by wildlife biologist Dr Kashmira Kakati, the NGT also issued notices to Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Oil India Limited, National Highways Authority of India, Coal India Limited and various other State authorities. The petition alleged that their activities were also affecting the two elephant corridors of Golai and Bogapani.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar listed the matter for hearing on March 12. In her petition, Dr Kakati has also sought legal protection for the elephant corridors under the Environment Protection Act and that the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) should make it mandatory to obtain wildlife clearance from the National Board of Wild Life prior to any proposed development work within the two elephant corridors/habitats.
Dr Kakati has alleged that the State Government has given permission to Indian Oil Corporation to construct an oil despatch terminal in the Golai elephant corridor in violation of the environment laws. The terminal would not only block the elephant corridor but would also increase the vehicular traffic in the area, which would be harmful to the wildlife as well as environment, the petition, filed through advocate Sanjay Upadhyay, said.
Seeking protection of the elephant habitats, the petition also opposed the State Government’s decision to allow the NHAI to build the NH-38 bypass through the Bogapani corridor and prayed for directions that no permanent construction be allowed to come up in the Golai corridor.