Unblock the Ancient Migration Route of Wild Elephants in Assam
This petition had 8,560 supporters
The Assam-based Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) has violated wildlife and forest laws with deadly consequences for the region’s native wildlife. Showing complete disregard for the rules and orders of the National Green Tribunal, NRL has constructed a massive boundary wall, running more than two km. in length, enclosing an area marked for the construction of a of new township and also developing a golf course in another location by destroying forest cover, elephant corridor and wetlands.
This golf course site is located at a distance of about 2.5 km. from the entrance gate of NRL Township and is adjacent to Deopahar Proposed Reserve Forest, next to the Kaziranga National Park. The wall has effectively obstructed an important elephant corridor, disturbing the movements of the wild pachyderms who use the route to access waterholes and food on the other side. The wall has already claimed the lives of 3 elephants. Most recently, a seven-year-old male elephant was found dead next to the NRL boundary wall, and an on spot verification attributed its death to a severe hemorrhage from desperately trying to break through the wall. The NRL’s golf course lies within the no development zone, and the area was frequented by elephants, deer and other wildlife. NRL’s wall has broken a crucial wildlife corridor, impacting not only wildlife, but also the environment and ecology of the area. This area, where now a golf course stands to be built, once provided green vegetative cover.
NRL was granted Environmental Clearance (EC) by the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Assam in August’ 2013, under certain strict conditions for extension of new Township. Subsequently, the Divisional Forest Officer also issued additional conditions. However, since then, NRL has been felling trees, and excavating the site without final approvals. This led the Divisional Forest Officer, Golaghat, to withhold the approval accorded earlier and suspend any further activities by the NRL in 2014. In May 2015, due to continued violations, SEIAA was requested to suspend the Environment Clearance to NRL.
The matter is being heard by the National Green Tribunal on the basis of a case filed by environmental activist Rohit Choudhury [Miscellaneous Application (M.A) No. 787 of 2015 filed in Original Application of 38/2011 (Rohit Choudhury Vs Union of India & Ors).] The demolition of the wall and subsequent restoration of the area is being considered by the court, along with the suspension of all illegal activity in the area, and the payment of a compensation fee for the destruction of prime forest land in a No-Development Zone. Environmental lawyer Adv. Ritwick Dutta is representing Choudhury in the case.
The Numaligarh Refinery, located in Numaligarh, Golaghat district, Assam in India, is a refinery owned by Numaligarh Refinery Limited, a joint venture between Bharat Petroleum, Oil India and the Government of Assam. The refinery has affected large-scale change in land use through the destruction of forest cover, change of topography by cutting and mining of hillocks, and the use of heavy machineries to extend the township.
A golf course is a playground and luxury for the elite. Let it not come up destroying the elephant habitat.
We appeal to the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister of Assam, the Minister of Environment, Forests & Climate Change and State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to order the immediate demolition of the wall adjacent to the Deopahar PRF & around the golf course and the restoration of the area, along with the suspension of all illegal activity in the area and the payment of a compensation fee for the destruction of prime forest land in a No-Development Zone.
The elephant is recognized as India’s National Heritage Animal, and is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Join us to ensure that their ancient migratory route is conserved, and no more of these gentle giants fall victim to illegal constructions.
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