Assam: 3,400 ha 'encroached' forest land freed in 5 yrs

3,400 hectares of forest land in Assam cleared from 'encroachers' since 2016

The drive against "illegal encroachment" has been intensified after the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led government assumed office in May

An eviction drive being carried out at Borduar reserve forest in Kamrup district recently. Credit: Assam Forest Department

The BJP-led government in Assam on Saturday said over 3,400 hectares of forest land has been freed from encroachers, over 2,969 illegal structures demolished and 194 persons arrested since it came to power in 2016.

Assam environment and forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya said the land has been cleared from encroachers who illegally occupied and resorted to contructions in reserved forests, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and other protected areas.

"Out of this, a total of 915.05 hectares have been cleared from encroachments between April to June 23 this year. In Lower Assam Zone, 185.55 hectares has been cleared, 2.5 hectare in Upper Assam Zone, 615 hectare in Karbi Anglong West Division, 50 hectare in Karbi Anglong East Division, Kokrajhar's Haltugaon 40 hectare and around 22 hectare in Orang National Park," said a statement issued by the department on Saturday.

Suklabaidya said the drive was carried out as part of the government's vision to clear the encrochment on forests and government land.

"A zero tolerance policy will be adopted against encroachments in forest lands, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, bio reserves and other protected areas, " Suklabaidya said after a review meeting on Saturday.

The drive against "illegal encroachment" has been intensified after the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led government assumed office in May.

The statement said massive afforestation programmes have been taken up to expand the green cover in the state. "An action plan has been taken up by social forestry wing for the current financial year. A total of 220 hectare of plantation for all forest development agencies under the National Afforestation Program and 720 hectare for all divisions under CAMPA will be taken up," it said.

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