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Plantation drive in Kokrajhar

Kokrajhar, May 8: The forest department of Bodoland Territorial Council and the Ecological Task Force carried out a plantation drive today at Bedlangmari under Parbatjhora division in Kokrajhar district.

The drive was carried out on 23 hectares in Saloni, a forest land, which was illegally occupied by tea plantations, in presence of a magistrate and police.

The department and the 135 infantry battalion of the task force fenced the area with barbed wires to stop further encroachment.

A forest official said entry into the area is strictly prohibited and any trespasser would be prosecuted.

“According to a Supreme Court order dated 12.12.1996, any land recorded as forest area in government records is forest land and all laws and rules applicable to forests would be executed. Saloni is a forest land according to government records.”

An inquiry committee of the BTC Legislative Assembly had also stressed the need for immediate action to protect the forest area from rubber and tea plantation encroachment.

The committee observed that forests were being destroyed for commercial activities and this might jeopardise the BTC economy and the livelihood of people. “If such activities are allowed to continue, the BTC administration would be answerable to the country and the apex court for not taking action. The BTC should initiate timely action on the suggested measures,” the committee said in its report.

BTC deputy chief Kampha Borgoyary, who looks after the forest and tourism department, said the administration was trying its best to protect and preserve forest wealth.

He said stern action would be taken against those who try to encroach on or damage forest land and the council has been planning to rebuild forest area in the region.