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Concern over burning of charcoal in South Kamrup

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  18 Nov 2015 12:00 AM GMT

From a Correspondent

Boko, November 17: Villages near the Assam-Meghalaya border have expressed concern over the fact that their horticulture fields had lost their production capacity.

These villages are famous for oranges, pineapples, lemons, litchis, vegetables like pumpkin, papaya, ash gourd (winter melon) and eri and muga silk. These villages are home to all types of silk worms. But now most of the orange trees have dried up and whatever trees are left in the gardens, the orange ripen before time and fall down. Production of other fruits and vegetables has also drastically decreased in comparison to previous years. If these conditions continue then within 3-4 years no orange trees will be available in this area.

And in case of muga silk, production of Muga cocoon has drastically reduced in this area. Most of the muga silk farmers have shifted to rubber plantation.

“The situation is grim and bleak, but no one bothers about this. Earlier this area was covered with thick jungles, but now most trees have disappeared. Smugglers cut down trees and they also illegally collect sand and sand gravel from the river. Due to this, a large number of species of fish have vanished and the river also has lost its capacity to hold water. As a result, the area has dried up,” said Anindra Marak and Belson Marak, both social workers from upper Rajapara village.

“The forest department officials are hand-in-glove with the timber smugglers. If not, then when we inform them about the smugglers’ activity is this area they never bother to stop this or take action against them. We also informed the district admission about this but no action has been taken. Actually, villagers have lost their faith in the forest department and local administration. Very soon, villagers will take action against them otherwise our green forest will become a desert,” said Benedict Alok Areng, a social worker from Kingaon, and other villagers as well.

“Today if you come to this area you can see a lot of charcoal deposited by the side of the road which passes through the villages Rajapara, Mao Dunggop, Talimara, Noggaldonga, Landupahar, hakumari, Larubama, Parugaon and Kingaon. Daily 15-20 trucks laden with charcoal, 10- 15 trucks of wood logs, 40- 50 trucks of sand and gravel are illegally carried from this area. DFO, Rangers and other staff are aware of all this,” they said.

“Burning of charcoal is a dangerous phenomenon. An area totally dries up, all small trees in the area dry up and in 15-20 years the area cannot grow any trees or plants. This is happening in our area and soon this area will become a desert,” said the social workers.

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