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CEC Hears WPSI’s Kaziranga Petition

28th August, 2003

On 19 August 2003, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) heard a petition filed by Wildlife Protection Society of India on encroachments in the six Additions to Kaziranga National Park.

Situated on the flood plains of the Brahmaputra, Kaziranga has suffered considerable loss of land due to riverbank erosion along its northern boundary. The six Additions, created by the government of Assam to offset the loss of land due to riverbank erosion, provide vital habitats and corridors that act as escape routes to higher ground for Kaziranga’s mega herbivores during the Brahmaputra’s annual flooding.

However, these Additions face an uncertain future due to persistent litigation in the Guwahati High Court by the encroachers.

WPSI’s petition highlighted the damage that continuous illegal grazing and encroachments had caused to the fragile and unique ecosystem of Kaziranga and its Additions. It prayed that the six Additions to the Park be cleared of encroachments. Photographs and field reports sent by WPSI staff were used to point out the ecological significance and specific threat faced by each Addition.

Appreciating the gravity of the matter, the CEC issued notices to all the respondents, including the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Secretary of Assam.

In recognition of Kaziranga’s status as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, Mr. A. D. N. Rao, Counsel for the Ministry of Environment and Forests, agreed to formulate a legal strategy for the settlement of claims in Guwahati High Court. The Ministry is the nodal agency for UNESCO in India.


 

 

 

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