Rituraj Borthakur GUWAHATI, Nov 28 - Even as there is no clarity yet on the possibility of the government announcing a rehabilitation package for the evicted settlers of the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary, the Forest department has embarked on a plan to protect the pristine forest from further encroachments.
A torch rally being taken out in protest against the Amchang eviction drive, at Khanapara in Guwahati on Tuesday. – UB
The Forest department has planned a few makeshift camps inside the sanctuary for deploying personnel to stand guard.
“These personnel will be there for a couple of weeks or even more. Once the eviction drive is complete, the Chief Wildlife Warden will prepare a detail plan to protect the sanctuary. We will have to carry out plantation activities and other works,” a senior Forest official told The Assam Tribune.
Besides the Assam Forest Protection Force, the government is also likely to station police personnel in the temporary camps being set up inside the sanctuary.
Most of the evicted settlers continued to stay put inside the forest, erecting sheds with tarpaulin sheets and the dismantled GI sheets of their dwellings.
Meanwhile, Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma today said the government might consider a rehabilitation package for those settlers who were displaced by floods and erosion. “But there is no question of rehabilitation of those who came through land mafias and other dalals,” she said.
However, the administration said there has been no communication from the government side in this regard. Forest officials also wondered as to how “encroachers” could be offered a rehabilitation package by the government.
Amchang, which was declared a wildlife sanctuary in June 2004, has three reserved forests (RF). Amchang RF comprises Block I of the sanctuary and has an area of 53.18 sq km. The Khanapara RF and South Amchang RF comprise Block II of the sanctuary with an area of 25.46 sq km.
The sanctuary, with an area of 78.64 sq km, is shelter to about 44 species of mammals and 250 avian species, besides varied numbers of reptiles and amphibians. The pristine habitat has been providing the much needed oxygen to the people of the capital city.