Guwahati, Sept. 7: The National Green Tribunal has asked the ministry of environment and forests and the Assam government to pay Rs 1 lakh each to Kaziranga National Park to conserve and restore flora and fauna and maintain its bio-diversity.
Delivering the judgement today, the tribunal said both the ministry of environment and forests and Assam government had totally failed in their duties to implement provisions of a 1996 notification by the ministry, which resulted in establishment of a number of industries in and around the no-development zone of Kaziranga.
This has posed immense threat to the bio-diversity, eco-sensitive zone, ecology and the environment of the park, the tribunal said.
“We are satisfied this is a clear case of infringement of law and have no hesitation to direct both the ministry and Assam government to deposit Rs 1 lakh, with the Kaziranga National Park for conservation and restoration of flora and fauna and maintain the bio-diversity, ecology and environment in the vicinity of the park and within the no-development zone. The said amount shall be utilised exclusively by the director of the park for conservation, protection and restoration as well as for planting saplings of suitable trees of local species in and around the no-development zone,” the order said.
The green tribunal also directed both the ministry and Assam government to prepare a comprehensive action plan and monitoring mechanism for implementation of the conditions stipulated in the 1996 notification.
It directed the state government to close down 11 stone-crushing units and 33 brick kilns which have been established in contravention of the notification and also ensure no tea processing units having boilers operate within the zone and take immediate steps to stop their operation.
The tribunal also said in spite of issuance of the notification, Delhi and the state governments had maintained silence with regard to its implementation.
“Consequently, a number of stone-crushing units, brick kilns and other polluting units had been set up illegally in close proximity of the park as well as within the no-development zone. The non-implementation of notifications both by the Centre as well as the state government speaks volumes about their callousness and apathy in protection of ecology of Kaziranga, which resulted in pollution and thereby damaged the environment,” the tribunal said in its judgment.