The Hindu | June 8, 2020
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Fresh construction blocking one of the nine major animal corridors of the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) despite a Supreme Court ban has raised eyebrows in Assam.
The All Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad, a students’ body, has sought action against the builders allegedly linked to the ruling dispensation in the State. Their demand followed a conservationist’s letter to Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna pointing out that allowing the new construction works within an animal corridor was contempt of the apex court.
The builders have reportedly uprooted signboards put up by the KNP authorities to mark Kanchanjuri, one of the corridors used by animals to move between the 898 sq km one-horned rhino habitat and the hills of Karbi Anglong district separated by a highway.
“It is not as if this violation is happening in some remote part of Kaziranga or Karbi Anglong but right next to the National Highway-37 that passes through the Kanchanjuri animal corridor and is visible to every passer-by,” said eastern Assam-based Rohit Choudhury in the letter on June 6.
Referring to the Supreme Court’s April 12, 2019 order disallowing new construction on private lands that form part of the nine identified animal corridors of the KNP, Mr. Choudhury said the “brazen violation” could not have happened without the complicity of the park authorities and the Nagaon district administration.
A sizeable chunk of Kaziranga is in Nagaon district.
“Enough damage has been done to the areas around Kaziranga because of illegal stone quarrying and encroachment. The new construction has to stop,” the students’ union said in a statement.
“We have taken note of the development and the officials concerned have been asked to take action,” said KNP director P. Sivakumar.
“We shall take time off our COVID-19 duties to attend to the issue once we get the official order in hand,” said D. Bora, circle officer of Kaliabor in Nagaon district. Kanchanjuri falls under Kaliabor.
Meanwhile, the Guwahati police picked up six people for lynching a leopard and cutting off its body parts on Sunday morning. The incident happened in an encroached area of the Fatashil Reserve Forest in the city’s central part.
Jitender Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer of the Guwahati Wildlife Division, said the leopard was caught in an illegal leg-hold trap. It managed to escape after hours of struggle but the people followed it into the forest and clubbed it to death, he added.