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NRL township wall on elephant corridor demolished

 KAZIRANGA, March 13 - Complying with the ruling of National Green Tribunal , the Golaghat district administration and Golaghat Forest Division in a joint move today demolished a concrete wall constructed by Numaligarh Refinery authorities on an elephant corridor in the Deopahar area of Numaligarh.

The wall had been a bone of contention between the NRL authority and wildlife NGOs as it obstructed free passage of wild elephants leading to man-elephant conflict in the Deopahar area.

Golaghat Forest Division DFO Rajib Das said in 1999, the then Assam government had taken an initiative to propose the forest under Deopahar as reserve forest. Accordingly, the then deputy commissioner of Golaghat, Dr Ravi Kota was asked by the State government to take steps to declare Deopahar as a reserve forest in his capacity as the forest settlement officer. But as Dr Kota was transferred from Golaghat, nothing could be done by the subsequent authority to declare Deopahar as a reserve forest.

Again in 2012 , a survey was carried out in the Deopahar area. In the meantime, in 2008, an area of 9 hectares was provided to the Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) to extend their NRL township. Incidentally, in this 9-hectare plot, an area of one hectare belonged to the proposed reserve forest in Deopahar. NRL authorities later constructed a huge concrete wall having a length of 174 metres on the very elephant corridor.

Das said that on March 18 the authority is likely to declare Deopahar as a reserve forest which will definitely help in giving shelter and protection to wild elephants in the area.

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