Amchang eviction imbroglio
GUWAHATI: The Gauhati High Court has entrusted the Survey of India to conduct a survey of the Amchang Reserve Forest (ARF) and make a clear-cut demarcation of forest and revenue lands there so that the forest lands can be freed from encroachers, if any. The High Court has asked the Survey of India to submit the survey report within three months.
The Amchang Reserve Forest imbroglio dates back to 2013 when Early Birds, an NGO, filed a PIL (27/2013) in the Gauhati High Court seeking a clear-cut demarcation of forest and revenue lands in and around the reserve forest.
It is based on the PIL the High Court did ask Dispur to conduct an eviction drive in the reserve forest to free the land from encroachers in 2013. The eviction drive, however, hit the roadblock when a section of the people residing there moved the High Court and claimed that they were living on revenue lands, not on forest lands.
In the subsequent hearings, the High Court asked the State Environment and Forest department and the Revenue department to conduct surveys of their respective lands in the Reserve Forest and submit the reports to it. However, the reports submitted by the Forest department and the Revenue department do not tally with each other. In the meantime, the Forest Department appealed to the High Court get the survey of Amchang Reserve Forest done with the Survey of India. And that prompted the High Court to entrust the Survey of India for the task.
Houses, schools, religious institutions etc have sprung up in and around the Amchang Reserve Forest, apart from a few industries. The residents there claim that they are on Revenue land, not on Forest land. The lack of proper demarcation for forest and revenue lands with the State government has complicated the problem.