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SC panel writes letter to Chief Secy
Ajit Patowary
 GUWAHATI, Sept 16 - The State Chief Wild life Warden’s (CWLW) alleged indifference to comply with the request (made twice) by the Supreme Court’s Central Empowered Committee (CEC), for submitting a ‘factual report’ on the alleged illegal construction activities on the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve’s (KNP and TR) Kanchanjuri Animal Corridor has forced the CEC to move the State Chief Secretary to request him to direct the CWLW to submit the report ‘without further delay.’

 The CEC, in its letter (F No – 3-1/CEC/SC/2018, dated 15.9.2020) to the Chief Secretary referred to its June 7, 2020 and August 24, 2020 letters mailed to the CWLW on the issue of illegal construction on Kanchanjuri Animal Corridor. If the allegation of construction activities on the animal corridor of the National Park and Tiger Reserve stands vindicated, those involved in the construction are liable to be treated as violators of the Supreme Court’s April 12, 2019 order. This order has prohibited construction activities on the animal corridors of this National Park and Tiger Reserve of international repute.

The CEC has been communicating with the CWLW and the Chief Secretary of the State on the issue, following a complaint lodged by RTI-cum-environment activist Rohit Choudhury on June 30. The CEC, through its two letters, sought a ‘factual report’ from the CWLW and said that if the complaint is found correct, it would amount to contempt of the above order of the Supreme Court. In its letter to the Chief Secretary, the CEC described such violations as ‘a very serious issue.’ But the CWLW has so far not submitted the ‘factual report’ on the matter to the CEC.

It needs mention here that the Supreme Court’s above order came in the wake of the Interlocutory Application No 42944/2019 filed by Rohit Choudhury in writ petition No-- Civil 202/1995. The order stated, among others, “No new construction shall be permitted on private lands which form part of the nine identified animal corridors of Kaziranga National Park (KNP), Assam.”

Choudhury had earlier urged the State’s Chief Secretary to use his good office to immediately halt construction of the structure and also for the demolition of its already constructed part. He also warned that the failure of the State Government to stop construction of the structure as well as its demolition would make him move the Supreme Court with a contempt petition against all the individuals authorities concerned.

Choudhury alleged that the indifference shown by the top Forest Department officials in submitting the ‘factual report’ on the illegal construction activities on Kanchanjuri Animal Corridor implies that a powerful section in the department’s highest echelons is in nexus with the perpetrators of the offence. He explained that the CEC requested the CWLW twice to submit the factual report on the matter and a copy of its second letter, issued on August 24, 2020, was also sent to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of the Forest Force (PCCF and HoFF).

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