|Govt bans industrial activity in Depota elephant corridor|
TEZPUR, June 16 - Bowing to the mounting pressure from various nature lover organisations, the State Government’s Environment and Forest department has issued a notification to keep the Depota Elephant Corridor area free from any act of industrialisation.
It is to be mentioned here that a section of unscrupulous members of the land mafia in nexus with some so-called media people have been selling agricultural lands in Depota area changing the class of the agricultural lands overnight with the help of some corrupt officials of the Tezpur revenue circle, thereby hindering the movement of wild elephants. More importantly, the vested group has also sold a huge plot to M/s Nezone Food to set up a new food park in the area. This was vehemently opposed from various quarters. Keeping pace with the same protest against the move under the initiative of the then Conservator of Forest Northern Range, P Siva Kumar, the DFO, Sonitpur, Ranjit Kownar and honorary wildlife warden Saurav Barkataki submitted a number of representations to the government seeking intervention in the matter.
Issuing a notification to the district administration on the matter, N Dutta, Additional Secretary to the Government of Assam, Department of Environment & Forest vide Ref. No- SRK-11/RC (TEZ) 201N/46 Date. 09/01/2019 mentioned that the Depota area which is supposed to be owned by M/s Nezone Foods for a new food park, falls within the wild elephant passage way of Nameri-Sonai-Rupai-Arimora chapori elephant corridor. The establishment of the food park will hinder the free movement of wild elephant herds which regularly migrate through the said area every year during the winter season. It will also compound the man-elephant conflict. “The establishment of M/s Nezone Food Park cannot be allowed and recommended for conversion into industrial land. Rather the land will be allowed to carry out the cultivation of agricultural crops without putting any barrier against the movement of wild elephants,” the notification said.
In connection with the issue, a couple of weeks back a review meeting with Railways, WWF, Honorary wildlife warden of a few districts, the Conservator of Forests, Northern Assam Circle, DFO, Sonitpur West Division, representatives of DFO, Sonitpur East Division, Lakhimpur Division, ADRM, Rangia was also held at Rangia railway Head Quarter for mitigating the elephant deaths by train hits by putting up bio-fencing, conferring award on the railway & forest staff, sharing information of presence of elephants near the railway track, joint patrolling, deputing forest staff at railway Head Quarter at Rangia etc.