Anguished by pictures of animals killed by vehicles on the highway, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar warned the state government that if it does not come up with a ‘decent and effective proposal’ to address the issue, the tribunal will stop all vehicular movement on the stretch of NH 37 which passes through the national park.
    
"Pictures shown to us show the ruthless killing of exceptional species of animals by heavy traffic movement of trucks, etc. How can you be so cruel? How can you do this to such beautiful animals? How can you be so inhuman? You are killing them. If on next date of hearing you do not come with a decent and effective proposal, we will stop all traffic on the NH. Everybody here understands prohibition, but no one understands regulation," the bench said and directed Principal Secretary of Environment and Forests of the state government as well as the Chief Engineer of the public works department to appear before it on the next date of hearing, October 29.
    
The NGT also directed presence of the CEO of Numaligarh Refinery Limited, located near the national park, saying, "Half the problem you are causing because of the heavy trucks moving to and fro from your unit".
    
In the interim, the tribunal has directed that the NH stretch through the national park will not be widened and no work will done on the shoulders (sides) of the road.
    
The tribunal was also of the prima facie opinion that traffic movement on NH 37 stretch passing through Kaziranga, is not only in violation of the environment ministry's conditions - stipulated while granting permission for the road - but also of environmental and wildlife norms.
    
"You have breached Ministry of Environment and Forests conditions. You did not have the sense to build barriers on the road sides. You could have regulated the speed of vehicles by putting barriers to slow them down. You could have stopped traffic movement at night. You have done nothing," the bench said.

(Agencies)

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