GUWAHATI: While 3,780.1102 sq km (of the total 17,408.187 sq km) forest land in Assam is still under encroachment, the present government has freed 2,761.047 hectares of such illegally occupied land. The still encroached Forest Reserve area is 3,641.4502 sq km (of the total 13,590.267 sq km); National Park: 41.37 sq km (of the total 1,977.790 sq km); and wildlife sanctuaries: 97.29 sq km (of the total 1,840.130 sq km). This information was provided by Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya to a question raised by BJP MLA Atul Bora in the Assam Assembly on Thursday.
Of the five National Parks in Assam having a total of 1977.79 sq km, encroachment of 41.37 sq km has been indicated against three parks. These are 31 sq km in Manas (of the total 500 sq km stretched across the districts of Baksa and Chirang); 5.37 sq km in Dibrusaikhowa (of the total 340 sq km across the districts of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia); and 5 sq km in Nameri (of the total 200 sq km in Sonitpur districts). Official data, however, show no encroachment in the Kaziranga National Park stretched across 858 sq km across the districts of Golaghat, Nagaon and Sonitpur; and the Orang National Park stretched across 78.81 sq km across the districts of Sonitpur and Darrang.
With respect to the 18 wildlife sanctuaries (WLS) spread over 1,840.13 sq km in the State, encroachments have been found in 97.29 sq km across seven such sanctuaries. These are the Laokhowa WLS (1.35 sq km of the total 70.10 sq km) in Nagaon district; Barnadi WLS (4 sq km of the total 26.22 sq km) in Udalguri; Chakrasila WLS (0.0053 sq km of the total 45.56 sq km) in Kokrajhar; Burachapori WLS (4.23 sq km of the total 44.06 sq km) in Sonitpur; Sonai Rupai WLS (85 sq km of the total 220 sq km) in Sonitpur; Bherjan Borajan Podumoni WLS (0.05 sq km of 7.22 sq km) in Tinsukia; and the Amchang WLS (2.70 sq km of 78.64 sq km) in Kamrup (Metro).
Significantly, no encroachment has been indicated against the remaining 11 wildlife sanctuaries. These are the Garampani WLS (stretched across 6.05 sq km) in Karbi Anglong district; Panidihing Bird Sanctuary (33.93 sq km) in Sivasagar; Hollonggapar Gibbon WLS (20.98 sq km) in Jorhat; Pobitora WLS (38.81 sq km) in Morigaon; East Karbi Anglong WLS (221.81 sq km) in Karbi Anglong; Nambor WLS (37 sq km) in Karbi Anglong; Morat Longri WLS (451 sq km) in Karbi Anglong; Nambor Doirung WLS (97.15 sq km) in Golaghat; Dehing Patkai WLS (111.19 sq km) spread across the two districts of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia; Borail WLS (326.25 sq km) spread across Cachar and Karimganj districts; and the Deepor Beel WLS (Bird Sanctuary) in Kamrup (Metro).
There is no encroachment in the two proposed wildlife sanctuaries of 107.25 sq km as well. These are the North Karbi Anglong WLS (96 sq km) in Karbi Anglong district; and the Bardoibam Beelmukh WLS spread across the ditricts of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji (11.25 sq km).