Assam: Over 500 Families to be Evicted from Pabha Reserve Forest in Lakhimpur

The reserve forest spread over 46 sqkm, nearly 15 km towards the south of the NH-15
Over 500 Families to be Evicted from Pabha Reserve Forest in Lakhimpur
Over 500 Families to be Evicted from Pabha Reserve Forest in Lakhimpur

The Lakhimpur administration will evict over 500 families from around 5 sqkm land of the Pabha Reserve forest on Tuesday as per the instruction of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. The reserve forest spread over 46 sqkm, nearly 15 km towards the south of the NH-15.

According to the administration, 507 families belonging to the Muslim community have been illegally living in the forest land.

An official of the Lakhimpur forest division said the families had filed a petition before the district authority, seeking land rights in the forest area under the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
“We had challenged the petition as they do not belong to any tribal community. In September, the district authority finally rejected their petition and allowed us to initiate steps to free the forest land,” the officer added.

The Act recognizes the rights of the forest dwelling tribal communities and other traditional forest dwellers to forest resources, on which these communities were dependent for a variety of needs, including livelihood, habitation and other socio-cultural requirements.

The forest official added that most of the house owners live in different places. “They have either given their houses on rent or hired caretakers for them,” the officer said.

The official added that the families were served notices in September last year.

Lakhimpur, superintendent of police, Bedanta Madhab Rajkhowa said 600 personnel of state police and CRPF have been deployed for the exercise and a mock drill was conducted by the forces on Sunday, TOI reported.
“We are prepared to conduct the eviction drive in a smooth and peaceful manner as far as possible,” he added.

Nearly 3,000 hectares of government and forest lands have been cleared from encroachment in the state after the chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government took over in May, 2021.

The first and major eviction drive was conducted at Dholpur in Darrang district, around 55 km from Guwahati, in September 2021.

Over 500 Families to be Evicted from Pabha Reserve Forest in Lakhimpur
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