Declare Poba Reserve Forest of Dhemaji as national wildlife sanctuary: All Assam Students' Union
The AASU (All Assam Students’ Union) has once again raised its demand to declare the Poba Reserve Forest, located in Dhemaji district of North Assam, as National Wildlife Sanctuary.
LAKHIMPUR: The AASU (All Assam Students' Union) has once again raised its demand to declare the Poba Reserve Forest, located in Dhemaji district of North Assam, as National Wildlife Sanctuary.
The AASU reiterated the demand after a delegation of the organization, led by general secretary Sankarjyoti Baruah, visited the Reserve Forest on Wednesday. The AASU general secretary demanded the State Government to make this declaration in the cabinet meeting to be held in Dhemaji.
Poba Reserved Forest is situated in a crucial geographic area under Jonai subdivision of Dhemaji district. The reserved forest was created in the year 1924 and covers an area of 10,221 hectares. Poba is one of the richest rain forests of Northeast India in terms of the flora and fauna found in it and is well-termed as a biodiversity hotspot. As per report, the forest receives annual rainfall of 3600 mm to 4000 mm and the highest temperature so far recorded is 35°C in summer and lowest 7.0°C in winter. Towards the north of the Reserve Forest are the foothills of the Himalayan range in Arunachal Pradesh while towards east and south are the confluence of Rivers Siang, Dibang and Lohit creating the mighty Brahmaputra and the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park. Some revenue villages under Jonai subdivision are situated to the west of the Reserve Forest. This Reserve Forest is considered to be an important elephant corridor linking the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh and Dibru Saikhowa National Park, covering the Kobo Chapori Reserve Forest. At present, the Poba Reserve Forest is under serious threat from anthropogenic activities and natural calamities like erosion caused by the Siang river.
Last year on July 14, during his visit to the flood-erosion affected Reserve Forest, the then Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal announced that Poba would soon be upgraded to a wildlife sanctuary. But no effective step has been taken for the same since then. As a result of it, the crucial areas for the flora and fauna in the region are still under severe threat due to a number of reasons, particularly the erosion caused by the River Siang and rampant deforestation continued by a section of dishonest people.
On Wednesday, AASU general secretary Sankarjyoti Baruah visited the Reserve Forest in order to take stock of the situation therein. He was accompanied by vice-president Binay Dube, cultural secretary Tosen Deka, organizing secretary Manturaj Baruah, other AASU leaders, members of Save Poba Rain Forest, Poba Banyaprani Surakshya Samiti and the journalists of Jonai. The delegation also inspected the devastating erosion caused the River Siang and unabated deforestation by going 3 km inside the Reserve Forest. After the inspection, the AASU general secretary criticized the State Government and Forest Department in front of media persons due to their alleged lackadaisical attitude with regard to saving the Poba Reserve Forest from flood and erosion and unabated deforestation.
"The State Government has still taken no steps, what should have been taken to protect Poba Rain Forest. It is not only the mark of prestige for the people of Dhemaji as well as North Assam, but also an invaluable resource of the State," Sankarjyoti Baruah said.
He expressed vehement resentment against the State Government for taking no steps to declare the Reserve Forest as wildlife sanctuary despite the declaration made by former Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for the same last year. In this regard, the AASU general secretary demanded the State Government to declare Poba Reserve Forest as National Wildlife Sanctuary in the cabinet meeting scheduled to be held in Dhemaji soon. He also raised demand to save Kobo Chapori island from the massive erosion caused by the River Siang.
On the other hand, the AASU general secretary demanded to construct a strong, scientific embankment from Airam Ghat to Gali Ghat to save the Reserve Forest, Tinimile Ghat, Bera Chapori areas from the flood and erosion caused by River Siang by studying the nature of the river, instead of just installing the traditional bamboo porcupines. Similarly, the Forest Department has been demanded to initiate necessary, strict measures to check the deforestation of the Reserve Forest and to appoint Forest Range Officer in the Jonai Forest Office as the post has been lying vacant for a year.