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Irate villagers demand rehab before March

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 Feb 2018 12:00 AM GMT

Dibru-Saikhowa tiol Park

FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT

DIGBOI, Feb 25: Ironically when Forest Minister of Assam Pramila Rani Brahma was about to hold talks to discuss the feasibility and other significant aspects centering round the rehabilitation of the Mising community forest villagers living within Dibru-Saikhowa tiol Park here on Sunday Morning at Tinsukia Circuit House, hundreds of aggrieved villagers hailing from Laika Forest Village under Tinsukia District and Dhadhia Village under Dibrugarh District suddenly moved into Mamorani area in Digboi Division and attempted to encroach the areas near Lakhipather Reserve forest on Saturday late night – a night prior to official and administrative discussion with the Forest Minister.

According to sources, the encroachers with bag and baggage entered the said area with the intention of sheltering themselves after the failure of Sarbanda Sonowal-led BJP Government in Assam to rehabilitate the people in spite of several prayers, petitions and memorandums to this effect. However, the local villagers of Siring Mamaorani under Digboi Police Station resisted the encroachers and drove them back thus protecting the flora kingdom.

Meanwhile, as per the directives of the Assam Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal after meeting the representatives of the Mising community who apprised of the plight of the said two forest villagers recently, the Forest Minister along with a host of top forest officials including the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Upper Assam, the Conservator of Forest, Eastern Assam Circle, the MLAs of Chabua and Tinsukia, the DFOs of Digboi, Dibrugarh, Doomdoma and Tinsukia Wildlife held talks here this morning at Circuit House in Tinsukia to discuss the status of preparedness in regard to rehabilitate the villagers of the said two villages presently living in Dibru-Saikhowa tiol Park.

Subsequently, due to fresh and repeated incident of encroachment in Digboi by the same helpless people, the Minister held separate talks with the affected and ejected villagers who had gathered at Borguri Mising Gaon. Sympathizing with the villagers cause, the Minister terming them ‘origil inhabitants of Assam’ assured them to speed up the rehabilitation process so that the affected people could be provided with land in various proposed Reserve Forest (PRF) areas in Tinsukia District by March 2018. According to her, the forest departments have been geared up to conduct survey and find out suitable PRF areas which on receipt the process of shifting the villagers would kick start.

However, lambasting at the delay of the Assam Government and failure to realize the end within the stipulated deadline of eight months committed on June 21, 2017 in a meeting held at Dhadhia attended by PCCF, DC Tinsukia and others, a leader of Mising students organization, Mintu Raj Morang alleged that the Government has been repeatedly failing and changing dates after dates to come up with it a concrete solution in the interest of the tive tribal community who have been ill-treated, chased and driven “as if we are Bangladeshis in our own land”. Serving a note of ultimatum, Mr Morang said: “We would no longer tolerate beyond March, all our brethren are prepared across the state and if necessary our network in Aruchal Pradesh too would be activated and start our movements in both the states’.

It is pertinent to add here that two villages Laika and Dhadhia were established during the fifties within the Dibru-Saikhowa Reserve Forest under Dibrugarh and Doomdoma Forest Division respectively which later amalgamated in 1986 constituting a Wildlife Sanctuary vide Government Notification No. FRW.51/86/8 dt.26/09/1986 to be known as Dibru-Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary with an area of 340 sq. Kilometer keeping both the villages of Laika and Dhadhia inside the sanctuary itself. Further in the year 1999, by way of upgrading the existing Dibru-Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary as per the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act 1972, the entire area of 340sq Km including the two villages were declared as Dibru-Saikhowa tiol Park subject to the condition of subsequent rehabilitation of the said two forest villagers vide Government of Assam notification No. FRW.21/90/171 Dt. 05/03/1999.

As per record prior to 1980, Laika Forest village falling under Tinsukia District is formed of three sub villages Laika Pomua, Laika Phasidia and Laika Rigbi with 75 hosueholds extended in an area of 625 Bighas or 83.33 Hectre of land while Dhadhia Forest Village under Dibrugarh District formed of 7 sub Villages including Dhahia Aisung, Dhadia Karmigaon, Dhadia Tengabari, Dhadia Romai, Dhadia Kuligaon, Dhadia Charihuti and Dhadia Popita extending in an area of 135 Hectare within the tiol Park . While the recent abstract of the survey shows sharp rise in population and households. Dhadiya forest villages and its sub villages have 650 households with 3380 people (approx) while Laika has 433 households with 2751 people. The lnd allotted to Dhadiya people was 135 Hectare while 438 Hectare land has been occupied against Laika where 238 Hectre was allotted to the people but actual occupation stands 422 Hectare.

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