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Traffic curbs on animal corridors

- No traffic permitted on six sections of NH 37

Guwahati, March 20: The National Green Tribunal has ordered that no traffic will be permitted on six sections of National Highway 37, which passes through Kaziranga National Park, identified by the National Tiger Conservation Authority as animal corridors.

The tribunal headed by Swatanter Kumar today directed that no traffic would be permitted on these six corridors used by animals for moving from one sector to another during peak animal activity hours — from 5am to 7am and from 4pm to 7pm everyday.

The corridors are Kanchanjuri-Burapahar(4km), East Haldibari-Bagori (2.82km), Borjuri-Panbari (4.40km), Burapahar-Deosur Nala (2.5km), Amguri East (300 metres), Amguri West (1km) and a canopy for gibbon crossing near Kukrakata.

The first four corridors were identified by the Assam forest department and the rest by the Union ministry of environment and forests.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) constituted a committee in December last year to review the proposal submitted by the Assam government, suggesting measures for wildlife conservation with reference to NH 37.

The state government had submitted a proposal for long-term measures to be undertaken for protection of wildlife based on the directions of the National Green Tribunal. “We will first have to go through the order and find out how practicable are the suggestions of closing down traffic in the stipulated areas,” a forest department official said.

The Assam government today informed the tribunal that it is doing its best and taking steps to ensure that no animal dies or is injured because of traffic passing through the Kaziranga area.

The state government’s counsel said there are six sections of the road which have been identified/specified as corridors by the committee.

The state government said it shall fix cameras on all the said six sections to ensure that the vehicles passing through that areas do not exceed the prescribed speed limit of 40kmph and further ensure that no overloaded vehicles are permitted to ply on the said road. The government will ensure counting of traffic volume by maintaining proper records as to how many vehicles pass through that sector every day.

The tribunal has also directed the state to immediately release funds already sanctioned by the Centre in relation to protection and improvement of Kaziranga National Park.

The NTCA had sanctioned nearly Rs 7.09 crore on August 26 as first instalment of central share towards the grants-in-aid to Kaziranga tiger reserve under Project Tiger centrally sponsored scheme, but the amount has still not been released.

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