As the authorities run a campaign for creating an eco-sensitive zone encircling Kaziranga National Park in central Assam, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued bailable warrants against 28 dhabas, resorts, petrol pumps and other establishments for allegedly blocking several natural animal corridors on the park fringes.
The warrants were issued last week after the owners of these establishments failed to appear before the tribunal in connection with a hearing on the alleged encroachment in the animal corridors and government land around the park, which is also an important tiger reserve. Over 70 dhabas, restaurants, resorts, petrol pumps and other establishments were earlier served notice of appearance in connection with a case filed by one Rohit Choudhary.
The tribunal wanted to know from them what right they had over the land and whether those plots fell under the proposed eco-sensitive zone of Kaziranga National Park. While about 40 individuals and firms owning these establishments had appeared before the tribunal, the remaining ones which failed to turn up are now facing bailable warrants under provisions of Section 19(4)(a) of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, read with Order XVI Rule 10(3) and Section 151 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, the tribunal order said.
In April, a CAG report had said setting up of resorts, hotels, dhabas and garages, many of them encroaching upon government land along NH-715, had not only led to serious obstruction in management of the park, but also blocked natural animal corridors. The CAG report had found that 29 resorts and dhabas in Bokakhat Revenue Circle had been running for up to 40 years on land falling within 2-3 km of the Kaziranga National Park boundary, among which two resorts had already changed land pattern from agricultural to commercial.
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