GUWAHATI, Sept 9 - An area of about 3.99 to 5.4 square kilometres (sq. km) of the Panbari Animal Corridor, which is controlled by the Kaziranga National Park (KNP), has been encroached upon by a tea estate and at the Panbari Parbat, at a small distance from the Panbari Corridor, there are about 20 quarries.
However, the above quarries are not located within the Panbari Reserved Forest, though ‘a few of them is in somewhat near proximity.’
These are the assertions made by Dr Abhijit Rabha, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Karbi Anglong Forest Circle, in his affidavit before the National Green Tribunal in Original Application No 174/2013 (Rohit Choudhury versus the Union of India and others).
Dr Rabha filed the affidavit on behalf of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council.
He maintained that in regard to the diversification of the National Highway-37 from the KNP stretch, a route alignment via the North Bank connecting the Kolia-Bhomora bridge with Dergaon, via Biswanath Chariali, will possibly be the best solution.
He said in his affidavit that there are six notified animal corridors between the Shillong Plateau and the Mikir Massif (Karbi Anglong Hills), which is the geological extension of the former.
He further said the eco-sensitive zone of the width of 10 kms from the boundaries of the KNP is of considerable concern for the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC), as, its width ‘penetrates’ into the KAAC boundary and has the possibility to halt some of the development processes.
He argued that building a road through Karbi Anglong, instead of diverting the KNP stretch of the NH- 37 through the North Bank, will spoil a lot of biodiversity and affect two wildlife sanctuaries – Karbi Anglong West Wildlife Sanctuary and the Karbi Anglong North Wildlife Sanctuary (proposed for notification).
He suggested that during the pendency of the diversification specified in Condition 3 of the environmental clearance to the Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL), the stretch of the entire route between Jakhalabandha to the point nearest to the township of Bokakhat, can be fitted with movement sensors and self-shutting gates to regulate and cut off traffic as and whenever required in the event of animal crossing on the road.
Moreover, offending vehicles can be spray-painted with indelible paint for easier identification on later occasions, he said.