Numaligarh : The Supreme Court of India has strictly sent orders to the state government that there will be no expansion of NRL Township which will take away a massive chunk of elephant’s habitat or block the elephant’s corridor.
The Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) had sent an appeal to the apex court requesting for a boundary wall extending 2.2 KMs. SC rejected the appeal and have ordered to demolish the entire 2.2 KMs boundary wall blocking the elephant corridor in Deopahar Reserve Forest in Golaghat.
The Court said that “Elephants have first right on forest”.
The wall became the centre of controversy in 2015. In May that year, a 7 year old male elephant that had reportedly died of “severe hemorrhage” from violently thrusting against the wall.
A video grab captured by environmentalists also showed elephants trying to cross the high boundary wall.
Also read : Don’t be emotional, be practical: CM Sonowal
This was followed by environmental activists have been urging to demolish the wall built by the oil refinery. Environmentalists claimed that the wall and the NRL Township are being built illegally in a “No Development Zone” declared by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) in 1996.
The NRL received an order from the National Green Tribunal in August 2016 asking NRL to demolish the entire length of the wall within a month. But only a 289 metre stretch was demolished.
As per reports, the NRL challenged the NGT order, saying the entire wall need not be demolished as it is not a part of Deopahar Reserve Forest in Golaghat.
Gauhati High Court has stayed any further demolition of the Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) boundary wall as ordered by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) last month.
The NRL said it has also paid Rs 25 lakh to the State Forest Department, which will be kept in a separate bank account for restoration of the area and for the improvement of the surroundings adjoining the NRL complex and to reduce man-animal conflict.