Government can organise a rally in a few days, but “takes years to implement our orders,” the National Green Tribunal on Friday said, warning Assam government that its Chief Secretary will be sent to jail if its orders on animal deaths in Kaziranga due to accidents on the highway there are not complied with. It slammed the state government over the large number of animal deaths in the Kaziranga National Park due to traffic movement on the National Highway-37 that passes through the home of the famous one-horned rhinos.
“Why don’t you take steps to save the animals from being killed? Why should you kill the animals unnecessarily? Why haven’t you expedited the fixation of installation of sensor-operated automated traffic barriers? You are not complying with our orders since last one and half years.
“If a government has to organise a political rally it is done within days, but you have not been able to do anything over these years. We will send your Chief Secretary to jail for non-compliance of our orders. You cannot play jokes with the orders of the tribunal,” a bench headed by NGT Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The green panel directed the BJP government there to submit a complete status report on installation of sensor-operated automated traffic barriers, vehicles with interceptor speed sensors by December 15, the next date of hearing. It also sought a report on the exact number of animal casualties so far in road accidents on the National Highway.
During the hearing in which the Secretary of state transport was also present assured the bench that requisite steps would be taken with regard to the safety of animals and to implement the directions passed by the NGT. The tribunal’s direction came during a hearing on a plea filed by environmentalist Rohit Choudhury opposing the expansion of NH-37 which passes from Jakhalabandha to Bokakhat through the Kaziranga Park.
The NGT had ordered demolition of roadside shops and eateries along the animal corridors near Kaziranga, among a slew of directions in the wake of increasing wildlife casualties due to vehicular movement on the adjacent highway. Gauhati High Court had stayed the order on demolishing shops and dhabas located within 100 metres of NH-37. The green panel had also asked Assam government to ensure fixation of sensor-operated automatic barriers at the animal corridors and ascertain whether speed-check cameras were in working condition or not.