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Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council challenges order banning mining in Kaziranga

GUWAHATI, May 9, 2019:

The Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) moved the Supreme Court and challenged its order banning all mining and construction activities in 10 km area around Kaziranga National Park (KNP) to give space to the wild animals of the park to move freely.

Meanwhile, the Kaziranga National Park Extension Protest Committee (KNPEPC) has decided to organize a protest rally at Bagori on May 10 to protest against the move for the inclusion of 10 km area around the KNP as eco-sensitive zone for giving space to the wild animals of the park for free movement.

In a bid to save wildlife and to ensure free movement of the animals in the national park, the Supreme Court made an announcement on December 13, 2018, for the maintenance of 10 km area around 21 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the country as ‘eco-sensitive zones’.

The apex court clearly stated that there cannot be any construction sites, factories or any other manufacturing unit or thick population density at least up to 10 km from the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.

Further, the apex court on April 13, this year banned all mining and construction activities in 10 km area around the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) prompting the district administration of Karbi Anglong, Nagaon and Golaghat to clamp Section 144 of CrPC from April 27.

Following the Supreme Court’s directive Karbi Anglong deputy commissioner Mukul Kumar Saikia formally banned mining activities in the area by an order on May 4.

A special leave petition (SLP) was filed by lawyer Kaushik Choudhury with senior lawyer Vijay Hansaria on behalf of KAAC principal secretary Mahanata Hazarika to review April 16 order of the apex court which banned all construction and mining activities in 10 km catchment areas around the national park, which has been designated as eco-sensitive zone (ESZ).

The petition was filed as per the directive of Chief Executive Member (CEM) Tuliram Ronghang.

The petition argued that a major portion of the revenue of the council is derived from forest and forest products.

“Therefore, banning mining activities in Dolamara and Rongmongve within the jurisdiction of Karbi Anglong will not only affect the revenue of KAAC but also the livelihood of the people living in the catchment areas of the national park,” the petition said.

Following the Supreme Court’s order, the district administration of Karbi Anglong, Nagaon and Golaghat have banned all mining and construction activities in the catchment areas of the National Park with effect from April 27.

KAAC CEM has stated that they have challenged the Supreme Court order banning mining and construction activities in Dolamara and Rongmongve as it would affect the revenue sources and livelihood of the tribal people living in the catchment areas since time immemorial.

On May 6 last the Kaziranga National Park Extension Protest Committee headed by local leaders like former EM Mohen Bey and Benting Terang held a meeting and decided to take out a protest rally on May 10 at Bagori to oppose the Supreme Court verdict banning mining in the areas.

The people of the villages under Socheng Dhenta and Duarbagori MAC constituencies are also expected to take part in the protest.

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