KALAIGAON, Nov 20 - The ceremonial distribution of ‘Forest Dwelling Land Rights’ papers among 131 families living in and around Sikaridanga near the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border for the last 75 years was held on Monday.
The programme was organised by the Udalguri district administration. This will boost conservation activities in the inter-State area as well as help curb poaching and illegal felling of trees.
Although Sikaridanga is a notified forest village under Bhairabkunda Reserve Forest, people living in the unnotified villages near Sikaridanga had been officially recognised as encroachers. No government welfare schemes like schools or hospitals could reach the villagers during the last 70 years. The Sikaridanga Forest Village has an area of 97 hectares.
Bhaskar Jyoti Manta, the ADC cum PD, DRDA,Udalguri, was present in the paper distribution ceremony and conducted the programme.
In his welcome address, he spoke on the necessity of according forest land rights to villagers living there since 1935.
Dilip Kumar Das, the Udalguri Deputy Commissioner, attended the ceremony as the distinguished guest.
Speaking on the occasion, he said a few words on the historic background of Sikaridanga. He further said under the Indian Forest Act, 2006, people living in forest areas for three generations are entitled to get the forest dweller status.
He requested the forest dwellers to conserve forests and protect wildlife while enjoying land rights.
PHE Minister Rihon Daimary attended the ceremony as the chief guest.
Speaking on the occasion, Daimary requested them to think for their future generations for which conservation of biodiversity is a must. He expressed serious concern over rising man-elephant conflict in Udalguri district.
According to him, destruction of forests and regular deaths of humans and wild elephants are very alarming.
The ceremony was also addressed by Charan Boro, MLA, Mazbat LAC; Syam Shundi, EM, BTC; Ripen Daimari, MCLA, BTC; MK Sarma, DFO and Dibakor Das, ACF of Dhansiri Forest Division,Udalguri; Pinky Borgayari, Revenue Circle Officer cum Welfare Officer, Udalguri and Dhritiman Das, Revenue Circle Officer, Mazbat also attended the ceremony.