MANGALDAI: Following the footsteps of the Gethsemane man-made forest at Bhairabkunda –the triangular border of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan in Udalguri district - which has transformed an area of six sq km of barren land into a thick and green forest under Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC), an organization formed by an organized group of nature-loving dedicated and devoted activists of Barigaon near Ambagaon in the district, has come forward with a pledge to transform initially 60 hectares of land along the Indo-Bhutan border at No. 3 Kundarbil under Ambagaon Mouza into a green jungle.
The entire area was full of green and thick forest cover till 1990 but at the behest of a section of anti-social elements, in 1992 this green forest cover witnessed rampant and unabated destruction as misguided youth in the name of rehabilitation indulged in felling of old valuable trees. The villagers too were compelled to remain silent spectators.
The villagers under the leadership of these youths in 2017 formed the Daojeng Forest Protection and Re-generation Committee under the guidance and regulation of Assam Joint (People’s Participation) Forestry Management Rule, 1998. Michael R Baglary and Forester I Arup Narzary of Dhansiri Forest Division have been nominated as the president and secretary with 70 members from eight villages. The committee attempts to plant trees in the area but a number of encroachers have totally damaged the saplings. The committee last year had approached the Forestry and Wildlife department of BTC. The Additional Principal Secretary of BTC, appreciating their spirit and the initiative, vide a letter asked the Divisional Forest Officer of Dhansiri Forest Division to take up the project as the area is under Kundarbil Proposed Reserved Forest (PRF) and under Bornadi, Khalingduar Elephant Corridor and a part of Ripu-Chirang Elephant Reserve. He termed the initiative as very important to cover the area with plantation and to improve the habitat for wild animals.
Being highly encouraged with the response from the BTC authority, the committee on Saturday started plantation in the area. Range Officer of Nonoi Forest Range, Satya Boro, in presence of wildlife activist and media person Bhargab Kumar Das and all the members of the committee, ceremonially inaugurated the plantation programme.
Talking to The Sentinel at the site, once largely populated with the Hornbill (Daojeng in Bodo language), Bhabesh Saharia, an active member of the committee, expressed hope that the entire area would regain its lost glory and beauty with green forest cover within the stipulated period. “We are committed to transform this bare land into a beautiful forest cover under JFMC concept and we are very hopeful that this place will become a place of tourist attraction,” he added.
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