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Matipung forest gets back ‘reserved’ status
Correspondent DIPHU, NOV 20:
Published on 21 Nov. 2009 12:26 PM IST
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Bowing down to pressure from different quarters and special initiative taken by the Stead Fast daily, the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) has decided to withdraw its earlier decision of de-reserving Matipung Reserved Forest. The KAAC authorities have vacated its previous Gazette Notification (extraordinary) proclaiming the Matipung Reserved Forest as “unreserved.” The decision was arrived at during a meeting held at the Central Range Forest Inspection Bungalow on Saturday which was attended by highly placed forest officials including the Conservator of Forest, Karbi Anglong, all the divisional forest officers of the three range etc. The meeting was also attended by the principal secretary, KAAC, M.C. Sahu. The forest officials and the principal secretary after closely scrutinizing the decision of the KAAC to de-reserve Matipung Reserved Forest, termed the order of the KAAC as “illegal,” and one that was issued against the existing Forest and Environment Acts laid down by the ministry of forest and environment, government of India. It may be recalled that the KAAC took a resolution to de-reserve the Matipung Reserved Forest in the greater interest of constructing vital institutions like the proposed Medical College, University etc. However, in sharp contrast to the declaration made by the KAAC, a section of politicians became busy in providing settlement to some displaced people, victims of ethnic carnage etc. Going against all existing rules laid down by the government of India and the directives of the Supreme Court of India, the KAAC during an executive committee meeting held on July 7 last declared the Matipung Reserved Forest as “Unreserved” which is considered as the “life saving zone” of the district. The decision was a gross violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 with Amendments made in 1988, an Act that provided for the conservation of forests and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto. No NGO working in the field of forest and environment or any social body has registered their protest against the decision to de-reserve the forest area. The KAAC further made a Gazette Notification (extraordinary) on July 23, announcing the Matipung Reserved Forest as “unreserved.” Without waiting for formal announcement of the notice, around 200 families have already settled inside the reserved forest. Establishing model villages deep within the periphery of the reserved forest is advancing. The Matipung Reserved Forest has a total area of 33.23 square kilometer. Karbi Anglong, measured as ‘oxygen cylinder’ of Assam due to its rich vegetation , flora and fauna, is witnessing unvarying felling of precious species of tress like Teak, Bonsom along with different hard and soft wood items by timber smugglers resulting in conversion of green covers into barren lands for many years. It may be mentioned that Diphu township has witnessed the highest temperature this year, with the mercury level raising upto 44 degree Celsius. An aerial view of the district will provide the reality of as to how much greenery and forest wealth of this district has been lost within the last couple of years.

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