Assam: Eviction Continued On 2nd Day In Pabha Reserve Forest

The reserve forest is spread over 46 sq km, nearly 15 km towards the south of the NH-15. According to the administration, 507 families belonging to the Muslim community were illegally living in the forest land.
Eviction continued in Assam's Pabha reserve forest
Eviction continued in Assam's Pabha reserve forest

The eviction drive in Pabha Reserve Forest in Assam on Wednesday continued for the second straight day. The eviction drive is being carried out to clear forest lands from illegal encroachment.

Officials of the Lakhimpur district administration along with forest department officials carried out the eviction drive today during which as many as 202 families were eviction at Mohguli.

Officials informed that the target is to clear out a total of 450 hectares of forest lands from encroachers. So far, 250 hectares have been cleared during the first day of eviction.

Earlier on January 9, reports emerged that the Lakhimpur district administration will evict over 500 families from around 5 sq km land of the Pabha Reserve forest. Eviction drives were carried the next day as per instructions from Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The reserve forest is spread over 46 sq km, nearly 15 km towards the south of the NH-15. According to the administration, 507 families belonging to the Muslim community were 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 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.

Eviction continued in Assam's Pabha reserve forest
Assam: Over 500 Families to be Evicted from Pabha Reserve Forest in Lakhimpur

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 (SP), 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.

Eviction continued in Assam's Pabha reserve forest
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