SILCHAR: Villagers of Salchapra Part 1 in Cachar, 20 km from here, oppressed by the sounds of crusher machines, its dust and pollutants called mediapersons to listen to their pains and sorrows and bring them to light. A group of the villagers who included Rehan Uddin Laskar, Nehrul Haque Barbhuiya, Nasir Uddin Laskar and Aftab Uddin Laskar, in a voice said the stone crusher machine working even during curfew hours has made their once peaceful and pollution free living quite difficult.
Ever since the crusher started operating, students have been badly affected and their studies suffered by the deafening sound. Anjab Ali Pre Senior Madrasa nearby with teachers and students are greatly disturbed. Elderly persons in particular find the environment suffocating. According to state guidelines, a crusher machine has to be set up 300 metres away from a village or residential area. Just in close proximity to their village is Dey Stone Crushing Unit.
Villagers told mediapersons that they did file complaint to DC and SP for necessary action. But they did not get any reply. They have decided to meet Parimal Suklabaidya, Minister of Forest and Environment. Even after that no steps were taken to close or shift the Crusher Unit. They will together go for agitation as last resort. They want media to highlight their problem to strengthen their fight for justice.
Coming from the humble town of Bokakhat in Assam, Rohit has successfully fought several battles against the violation of wildlife laws in Kaziranga, Manas Tiger Reserve (both World Heritage Sites), Deepor Beel wetland (a Ramsar Site) and surrounding areas.
The National Highway-37 winding through KNP is an eternal curse on the parks wildlife. Animals were found dead or hurting near it every day. Choudhurys RTI application revealed 251 Kaziranga animals getting killed on NH-37.
In 1991, when the Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) gave a clearance to the Ministry of Petroleum for setting up an oil refinery at Numaligarh in the Golaghat district of Assam, one of the conditions was that the stretch of NH-37 from Jakhalabandha to Bokakhat should be denotified from all highway records of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
Upon hearing this plea, the tribunal reprimanded the authorities and issued bailable warrants against them. It not only voided the illegal expansion but also ordered the installation of sensors, barricades, issuance of challans and other speed control measures with immediate effect.
Another tough battle he has been fighting is against the Public-Sector Undertaking Numaligarh Oil Refinery Ltd (NRL), right at the edge of KNP and close to the land proposed for Deopahar Proposed Reserve Forest (PRF).
As a part of its township expansion process, the NRL created a golf course by clearing forest spread over several hectares and built a 2.2 km boundary wall. This was done on the proposed land for Deopahar Reserve Forest.
Nobody heeded the death of a seven-year-old elephant calf in 2015, but it created outrage among the environment lovers and activist circles. The male calf reportedly died due to haemorrhage from banging against the wall. Video footage of elephants trying to cross the high wall was also captured the same year.
Rohit launched a campaign to tear down the wall and filed a case against the companys illegal construction before the NGT, which subsequently quashed all arguments of the industry giant and ordered demolition of the entire wall within a month. The golf course was ordered to make space for the forest once again.
Rohit once again approached the NGT and this time, fearing a huge fine, 289 meters of the 2.2 km wall was torn down by the company on March 13, 2018. The case is still going on as NRL has filed a fresh application in the Guwahati High Court.
On 20 April 2018, thanks to Rohits efforts, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) banned all mining and stone crushing activities in the Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong landscape. Rampant illegal mining and stone crushing was going on right outside the park which severely damaged the ecological balance of the landscape. Rohit had meticulously gathered all evidence about the illegal activities and filed a complaint in this regard in October 2017.
Apart from this, Rohit is also known to have secured an order from the NGT that ensured the closure of polluting industries like brick kilns and stone crushing units, which cause irreversible damage to the environment in the No Development Zone (NDZ) of KNP.
Rohit approached NGT for correcting the wrong, after which the body issued a notice to the state government to shift the Municipal Solid Waste dumping site from its present location. The matter is presently subjudice.
Founded in 1981 by Bittu Sahgal, Sanctuary Asia is one of most the popular wildlife magazines in India. It serves as a forum for wildlife groups, concerned individuals and non-profit organisations in the country.
The Sanctuary Wildlife Awards were established in 2000 to recognise the individuals who have done exemplary work for the protection of wildlife and natural habitat. Every year, nominations and entries are invited from across the country to select the best and brightest in the field.
The winners are chosen through a gruelling selection process, and the awards are given for the four prestigious titlesThe Lifetime Service Award, The Wildlife Service Award, The Green Teacher Award and The Young Naturalist Award. Each category, like the nominees, is unique in its own way.
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