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Panel for wildlife safety

Guwahati, Dec. 29: The National Tiger Conservation Authority has set up a committee to examine the Assam government’s proposal to National Green Tribunal on protection of wildlife that use National Highway 37 passing through Kaziranga National Park.

The decision was taken at a meeting convened by the ministry of environment and forests to discuss the direction given by the tribunal to Dispur to ensure immediate protection of environment, wildlife and human beings on an 18km stretch on NH 37 passing through the Kaziranga National Park and discuss this with the ministry of environment and forests and others.

The Assam government in turn had proposed several measures to minimise the environmental impact and enhance the safety of the animals of the national park.

An official of the NTCA who was present at the meeting suggested to constitute a sub-committee comprising experts from Wildlife Institute of India and Dispur.

The committee will review the proposal of the state government regarding safeguarding of wildlife that use NH 37 passing through the Kaziranga National Park, review proposed crossing structures in terms of the design suitability and appropriateness of locations to reduce the barrier effect of roads on wildlife movement and prevent mortality of animals on road as well as injury to human beings.

The committee comprises D.P. Bankhwal of NTCA regional office Guwahati, Bilal Habib and Gautam Talukdar of the Wildlife Institute of India and three officials of the Assam public works department. It would propose additional measures or options necessary to avoid, reduce and address the ecological impact of NH 37 on the wildlife with reference to animal movements from or to Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong forests.

The committee will be convened by the NTCA and the report will be submitted within a month.

The Assam government said it is not feasible to divert NH 37 from the present alignment and the only probable alignment was diverting to the south through the hilly terrain of Karbi Anglong but that would involve huge destruction of wildlife.

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