Assam: Massive Eviction Drive Launch In Pabho Reserve Forest

Guwahati: A large-scale eviction drive was conducted on Tuesday to remove about 500 hectares of forest land at the Pabho reserve forest in Lakhimpur district of Assam.

The government set up a lot of security in the region and was spotted driving tractors and excavators.

Meanwhile, families that had encroached on the forest areas had demolished their homes and departed the area.

The eviction drive is being conducted in accordance with the Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s directives.

The administration claims that 507 Muslim families have been residing illegitimately in the forest area.

The families submitted a petition to the district authorities, according to a representative of the Lakhimpur forest division asking for land rights in the forest region under the Forest Rights Act of 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 affirms the rights of tribal communities that live in forests and other traditional forest dwellers to forest resources. These communities depended on these resources for a range of purposes, including residence, a means of subsistence and other sociocultural necessities.

The majority of the home owners, the forest official continued reside in various locations. The officer claimed that “they have either rented out their homes or hired caretakers for them.”

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

According to Bedanta Madhab Rajkhowa, the superintendent of police in Lakhimpur, 600 members of the state police and the CRPF have been deployed for the exercise and on Sunday, the forces held a simulated drill.

“We are prepared to conduct the eviction drive in a smooth and peaceful manner as far as possible,” he added.

Since the BJP-led state government, led by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma took office in May 2021 about 3,000 hectares of public and forest areas have been freed from encroachment.

Around 55 kilometres from Guwahati, in the Darrang district the first and largest eviction drive was carried out in September 2021 at Dholpur.

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