Clear encroachments in Kaziranga: HC to Assam govt

State proposes compensation, relocation for people living in KNP

The Gauhati High Court has asked the Assam government to clear the encroachments in four additions of the Kaziranga National Park and hand them over to the park authorities.

Though the first and fourth additions have been handed to the park officials, the rest of the additions still have encroachments.  Hearing a PIL along with writ petitions relating to poaching, a division bench comprising Chief Justice (acting) K Sreedhar Rao and Justice A K Goswami directed the state government to take steps and hand over the land to the KNP authorities.

Lawyer Rita Boro Barua, who represented the petitioner, said the Assam government had suggested short-term and long-term measures. “According to the government, the short–term measures will start immediately and the encroachments will be cleared by March 31, 2015,” she said.

The Assam government also proposed a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the people who are living in the additions and suggested that they may be relocated to model villages. The court suggested setting up of a separate sub-division for expediting the work.

Meanwhile in a related development, state Environment and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain has said that there has not been any encroachment in KNP’s notified areas, though there is some amount of it in the additions. 

On the rhino poaching issue, Hussain said, “We are very serious about rhino poaching, and for safety of these animals, electronic surveillance system has been installed in the park.”

The minister also assured that nearly 100 youths living around the park will be trained to assist the park security officials in curbing poaching and other anti-social activities.

Hussain also said that union Environment and Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar would visit the KNP for two days from Sep 4 to review its facilities and functioning.

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