New Delhi: The Supreme Court has banned all mining activities along the Kaziranga National Park and catchment area of rivers originating in Karbi Anglong Hills in Assam.
A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta issued a notice to the Assam government and sought its reply within three weeks.
“We order that all kinds of mining and related activities along the aforementioned Kaziranga National Park area and in the entire catchment area of rivers/streams and rivulets originating in Karbi Anglong Hill ranges and flowing into the Kaziranga National Park, including Tiger Reserve are restrained.”
“No new construction shall be permitted on private lands which form part of the nine identified animal corridors,” the bench said.
The apex court also directed the Director General of Police, Assam and the concerned Superintendent of Police to ensure that no illegal mining takes place in the area and no transportation of illegally mined material happens from the Karbi Anglong Hills.
It also issued a notice to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, Department of Environment and Forests.
The apex court’s order came after perusing a report filed by the Central Empowered Committee on the status of mining in area along the Kaziranga National Park and Karbi Anglong Hills.
The report said many of the sites selected for operation of the mining activities are qualified to be recognised as forests and therefore in such areas the prior mandatory forest clearance from the Centre is a must.
“The mining activities permitted by Karbi Anglong officials along with various wildlife corridors connecting KNP and Karbi Anglong Hills landscape are without the authority of law,” the CEC said.
The order came on a plea filed by animal rights activist Rohit Choudhury against illegal mining near Kaziranga National Park.
He had claimed that more than 60 illegal stone quarries are in operation at Karbi Anglong Hills, adjoining the national park, threatening its landscape and survival.