Assam Forest Department Clears Over 3,400 Hectares From Encroachments
The Environment and Forest department has cleared over 3,400 hectares of forest lands from encroachments.
GUWAHATI: The Environment and Forest department has cleared over 3,400 hectares of forest lands from encroachments. The department has cleared encroachments from reserved forest lands, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and other protected areas covering over 3,000 hectares during the period 2016-2020. 2,960 illegal structures have been destroyed with 194 persons arrested.
During the period from April to June 23, 2021 a total of 915.05 hectares has been cleared from encroachments. In Lower Assam Zone, 185.55 hectares has been cleared, 2.5 hectares in Upper Assam Zone, 615 hectares in Karbi Anglong West Division, 50 hectares in Karbi Anglong East Division, 40 hectares in Kokrajhar's Haltugaon and around 22 hectares in Orang National Park.
After taking over the helm of affairs, Environment and Forest Minister, Parimal Suklabaidya has been on a mission mode to remove the reserved forests and other protected areas, including wildlife sanctuaries and national parks from encroachments.
Minister, Suklabaidya said that the department is committed to free the forest lands from encroachments with the help of civil and police administrations. "A zero-tolerance policy will be adopted against encroachments in forest lands, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, bio reserves and other protected areas," he said, adding that stringent action will be taken against the offenders as per law.
The department is also trying to mop up revenue from the sand and stone mahals under Minor Mineral Concession Areas and to render 49 mahals functional. Of the total 418 mahals that include 297 under Upper and Lower Assam Zones and 121 under 6th Schedule, 126 are functional under Upper and Lower Zones and 81 under 6th Schedule. 57 numbers of mahals have been put to tender, 55 cases settled following tenders and 50 cases pending due to litigations. The department has generated revenue of Rs 302.38 crore in 2020-2021 and Rs 20.02 crore approximately up to June 2021-2022.
Massive afforestation programmes have been taken up to expand the green cover in the State. An action plan has been taken up by Social Forestry Wing for the current financial year. 50 km of avenue and median plantations along NHs falling under Bongaigaon, Barpeta and Nalbari districts with funding by NHAI, greening of greater Guwahati city on the median and along the roadside from Panjabari to LGBI Airport, 220 hectares of plantation for all FDAs under the National Afforestation Program and 720 hectares for all divisions under CAMPA will be taken up, stated a release.