POWER CONNECTION TO ENCROACHERS
GUWAHATI: When all the other steps failed, lodging FIRs against the APDCL (Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd) is the only way out for the State Forest department to disconnect electricity connections to the encroachers of forest lands.
Power connections were given to a section of encroachers of the Forest lands in all almost all the reserved forests, let alone those in Guwahati.
Sources in the State Forest department said that time and again they had requested to the APDCL to disconnect the Power connections given to the households erected on forest lands. "However, our pleas continue to fall on deaf ears of the APDCL. Taking the gravity of this issue into consideration, we're compelled to file FIRs against the Power distribution company. The DFOs (Divisional Forest Officers) will file the FIRs in their respective jurisdictions where encroachers of Forest lands got power connections. Not giving Power connection on forest lands acts as a deterrent to the encroachers," a source in the department said.
In July this year, APDCL MD (Managing Director) Rakesh Kumar went on record telling this reporter that he would take up the matter of "Power connections to encroachers of forest lands". However, even after the lapse of four months; no action has been taken to disconnect the electricity supplying lines to such encroachers.
A Forest official said, "When the APDCL gives Power connections to households it can detect with an apparent view if the land is of the Forest or the Revenue department. If they've doubts, why don't they contact us? We can demarcate the forest areas in such doubtful areas. This is not all. When a common man applies for electricity connection, the APDCL seeks a whole lot of documents to ascertain the eligibility of the person seeking Power connection. Don't they go through the documents? After getting such electricity connections, the encroachers get a moral boost, and this leads the other encroachers to follow suit."
Despite the Forest department raising this issue time and again, why doesn't Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who holds the Power portfolio, take up the matter seriously?
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