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Eviction drive in Matipung Reserve forest
Correspondent DIPHU, FEB 19
Published on 19 Feb. 2010 11:34 PM IST
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Controversy reigning high in Matipung locality of Diphu town following an eviction drive carried out by enforcing agencies on Thursday, the issue was assuming serious proportion since February 14 when legal authorities issued expulsion notice to some settlers who had been encroaching portions of the Matipung Reserve forest over some period of time. Many thatched huts were burnt down by the enforcing agencies while carrying out the eviction drive. Further, the locals had strongly criticized the torching of huts by the authority, the infuriated villagers later made it clear that they were willing to clear-up the place provided the area is utilized for setting up the proposed Medical College. The aggrieved villagers further said that they would not allow construction of the Lt. Renu Teronpi private college, which they thought, would serve the vested interest of MP- Biren Sing Engti, they have asked the KAAC to clarify its stand on the whole issue citing clear motive behind carrying out the eviction drive. It was earlier reported that some politicians have acquired land pattas of some portions of Matipung reserve forest in their own name or in the name of their relatives. It may be mentioned that when the entire country is facing the penalties of global warming, the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council in confederation with the State government is accomplishing a perilous project of deforesting reserve forest areas of Karbi Anglong. Karbi Anglong, known as ‘oxygen cylinder’ of Assam due to its rich flora and fauna is suffering already due to felling of precious species like Teak, Bonsom along with different hard and soft wood by timber smugglers have resulted in conversion of green cover into barren land. Not contented with the pitiable condition of the Reserve forests of the district, the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council shortly took a disreputable project of “Deforesting reserve forests’ of this district in league with the Assam Government. Notably, the Deputy Secretary i/c Revenue, H.S. Teron issued a Gazette Notification (extraordinary) proclaiming the Matipung Reserved Forest as “unreserved’, making way for a clean swipe of the entire greenery of this Reserve Forest which has an area of 33.23 square kilometers. Erection of model villages deep within the periphery of Matipung Reserve forest is advancing at a frantic space, mushrooming of huts can be visible in every spot of this reserve forest nowadays. An aerial view of the district will amplify the reality as to how much greenery and forest wealth of this district have been lost within the last couple of years due to the undercover, uncaring and uninspiring attitude of the KAAC officials. Taking benefit of the fact that the ‘provision of conservation of forest’ of this district comes under the administrative jurisdiction of the KAAC, the Council through an Executive Committee meeting on July 7 last year , declared the Matipung Reserve Forest as ‘Unreserved’ thus legalizing the way to wipe out forestry of this district under Government protection. The KAAC further made a Gazette Notification (extraordinary) on July 23, 2009, announcing the Matipung Reserved Forest as “unreserved’, not even waiting for formal announcement of the notice, around two hundred families meanwhile made settlements inside the Matipung Reserve forest, in addition to this, two Churches also were constructed inside the same reserve forest. It may be recalled that the KAAC took a resolution to pronounce the Matipung Reserve forest as unreserved 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 were seen busy in providing settlement to some displaced people, victims of ethnic carnage. Sources within the forest department on many occasions revealed that some highly placed officials of the department who raised their voice against this gross violation of Supreme Court decree on forest rules, were served prompt transfers order from the district. The decision to de reserve forest areas itself was a gross violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 with Amendments made in 1988, an Act to provide for the conservation of forests and for matters connected therewith or ancillary or incidental thereto.

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