GUWAHATI, June 22 - Environment-cum-RTI activist Rohit Choudhury has alleged that the State government has not complied with the recommendations of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on stopping all mining, quarrying and stone crushing activities in the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape.
The environment activist has also pleaded that to make the State government comply with the recommendations of the NTCA, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) should stop all funding until the stone mining and crushing activities in the said area are stopped.
In case of failure of the governments in the State and at the Centre to stop all stone mining and crushing activities in the said area, the environment activist warns that he would be forced to move the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for its intervention in the matter.
In a letter to the Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister, the environment activist said that the NTCA, in its report to the State government on April 20, 2018, had urged the State government to stop all mining, quarrying and stone crushing activities in the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape immediately. The NTCA reasoned that such activities have been severely hampering survival and conservation of tiger, its habitats, co-predators and preys, including the mega herbivores and their transit routes during the annual flood season.
Moreover, the NTCA said that it has found stone mining/quarrying and stone crushing activities in the area between the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) and the hills of Karbi Anglong responsible for the destruction of wildlife corridors and vital wildlife habitat essential for long-ranging species like the Indian elephants and tigers. In addition, these stone mining/quarrying and crushing activities are also responsible for drying up and siltation of several natural steams and rivulets flowing from Karbi Anglong hills towards Kaziranga.
Considering the devastating impacts of quarrying/mining activities, all stone mining/quarrying and crushing units of the said area need to be closed down immediately. Or else, the KNPTR is facing imminent risk of losing its animal corridor and habitat connectivity with the larger Karbi Anglong Landscape permanently. This loss of corridor and habitat contiguity for wildlife dispersal will have serious implications for long-term conservation of wide ranging species like tigers and Indian elephants of the KNPTR, said the NTCA in its above report.
Choudhury alleged in his letter to the Union Minister that the State government has chosen to turn a blind eye to all the illegal activities of stone mining/quarrying and crushing in the said area, making the wildlife of the KNPTR to continue to suffer. This is despite the fact that the NTCA has been extending an annual financial assistance of Rs 15 crore to the KNPTR under the Centrally-Sponsored Scheme of the Project Tiger (CSSPT).