Guwahati: Eviction against illegal encroachment to continue in Assam, said Assam chief minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma. Talking about the ongoing eviction in the Lumding reserve forest, the CM said, all encroachment in Assam is done for business purposes. One Nazrul bought around 1500 migrant Muslim families to the Lumding reserve forest from different places of Assam like Nagaon, Barpeta and Dhubri. These people were engaged in Ginger and Turmeric cultivation. Trader Nazrul in a nexus with government and forest officials destroyed almost half of the reserve forest and settled hundreds of families there during 2007 to 2015. These families produced turmeric and ginger worth Rupees 25 crores every year. CM Dr. Sarma told the media that a case has been registered against Nazul and he will be arrested soon and the nexus will be busted.
On Monday the Hojai district administration evicted 500 hectares of forest land in Lumding. 1000 police, CRPF personnel were deployed for the eviction. Local people accused one man, Abedin, of selling hundreds of hectares of forest land to the encroachers for 1 lakh to 1.5 lakhs per bigha. A huge racket including government and forest officials were involved in it. CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said that even Dhalpur-Girukhuti encroachment was done for business purposes. Few land mafias grab huge areas of land and later they sell it to encroaching families and do large scale cultivation. The encroachers in the Lumding reserve forest are not landless people. They were brought to Lumding by mafias for encroachment and illegal cultivation of ginger and turmeric, CM added.
According to the Hojai district administration, a two days eviction drive starting from Monday morning will clear 500 hectares of land. The administration is targeting to clear all the encroachment in three phases as per the Guwahati High Court order. The High Court responding to a PIL filed by ex MLA of Hojai Siladitya Dev, directed the government to clear the encroachment in Lumding reserve forest by February 2022. The Assam government had held several rounds of discussions with various minority organisations for a peaceful eviction. On Monday the Hojai administration using forest department elephants, excavators etc destroyed several hundreds of illegal house constructions, cultivation belonging to the encroachers in Bhetnala and Nakhuti areas of the reserve forest. Several illegal constructions of Mosques are also found in the evicted areas which were also evicted by the administration. Almost 50 families of Chakma tribes were also evicted from the reserve forest. The administration said that all tribal people will rehabilitate as per the forest dwellers act. The eviction drive was peaceful and will continue on Tuesday also.