GUWAHATI, July 3 - It seems, even the Supreme Court of India can be made irrelevant in some parts of the State by vested interest circles with the support from some people in the Government. One such incident has come to light in the eco-sensitive zone areas of the Kaziranga National Park (KNP). Without the Supreme Court of India taking up a suo-motto case, it appears there would be no force to stop the misdeeds of such vested interest circles, said RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury.
Elaborating, he said large-scale excavations in the paddy fields and the chapori (sand bar) areas of the Brahmaputra, falling within the KNP eco-sensitive zone, have been carried out, in violation of the Supreme Court orders, by the contractors engaged in the construction of a dyke on the west bank of the Diphalu river on the KNP eastern border.
The seven-km-long dyke is being laid between Mariahola and Diphalu Pathar in Bokakhat subdivision of Golaghat district. It was planned by Flood and River Erosion Management Agency of Assam (FREMAA) with an estimated cost of around Rs 55 crore Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan.
The dyke is to have 45 metres as is base width, with the crest width being 6 metres and height being 7 metres. The project also has it that the crest of the dyke is to be developed into a gravel road.
This dyke, planned to check high flood in the KNP, also has the provision of three sluice gates, one of them consisting three gates and each of the rest two consisting one gate.
Besides, the project component also included installation of around 14 lakh geo-bags filled with 1,00,800 cubic metres of Brahmaputra silt. A Supreme Court of India order has made it obligatory for the contractors to collect the silt from outside the eco-sensitive zone areas.
To construct the dyke, the contractors are to collect around 1, 93, 998 cubic metres of earth. Two contractors’ firms have been awarded the work of constructing this dyke. One of them (1st one) is to collect 1, 87,998 cubic metres of earth, while the other one (2nd one) is to collect 6,000 cubic metres of earth. State’s Director, Geology and Mining had approved the collection of the above quantity of earth from the Karbi Anglong Dolamara site.
The first contractor firm, which was assigned the job to collect 1, 87,998 cubic metres of earth from Dolamara area, obtained the permit for carrying 50,000 cubic metres of earth from that site, while the 2nd one obtained the permit for carrying 6,000 cubic metres of earth, out of the same amount of earth it was assigned to carry from the site.
The first firm collected around 4,000 cubic metres of earth from Dolamara, while the second firm collected around 2,000 cubic metres of earth from that site.
The first firm then started collecting the rest amount of the earth from the paddy fields located within a distance of about 300 metres and lying within the KNP eco-sensitive zone area during March and April this year.
By this time, the second firm has almost completed installation of the geo-bags, filling them with the Brahmaputra silt collected from the chaporis located within the eco-sensitive zone, that too without abiding by the legal provisions of the Assam Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 2013.
All these acts go against the April 12, 2019 Supreme Court order, which banned all mining activities in and around10-km-radius of the KNP. The authorities concerned in the FREMAA, the Forest Department and the Water Resources Department, have been allegedly playing mute spectators to all such misdeeds, alleged Choudhury.