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Smooth eviction drive in Jorhat

- No big buildings come under hammer on Day One; rights body glare on woman’s ‘cardiac arrest’
Eviction being carried out on the bank of the Toklai river in Jorhat on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos

Jorhat, July 8: The Jorhat district administration today launched an eviction drive to clear encroachments along several streams and the bank of the Bhogdoi river passing through the town and its adjoining areas.

No big buildings or commercial complexes came under the hammer of the team of administration staff and officials, equipped with excavators and other tools, and accompanied by a large force of policemen, including women police personnel, on the opening day. However, a boundary wall of a namghar (religious community hall) was demolished along the Tarajan stream near Nazir Ali area but there was no opposition to the demolition.

Sources in the administration said there were no reports of any resistance against the drive carried out in three different areas here within and outside the Jorhat municipal board area.

Most of the eviction (23 structures) today were in areas along the Tarajan and Tocklai streams and structures removed were boundary walls, toilets, storehouses, tea stalls (all non-permanent in nature), trees, bamboo bushes and a few dwelling houses where people do not reside now.

Jorhat deputy commissioner Solanki Vishal Vasant told The Telegraph that the eviction drive would continue for the next few days till all encroachments were cleared. He said notices were served by the administration to people asking them to voluntarily vacate encroached portion of land so that the process could be carried out peacefully and smoothly.

Solanki said notices were being served after conducting a survey on the ground by the revenue department staff on encroachment of land by checking office records. He said the survey was still on and all illegal constructions detected, irrespective of their ownerships, would be cleared.

“We want to carry out evictions in a peaceful manner by having people’s cooperation as the aim of the drive is benefit for all (to prevent artificial flooding) and those who have encroached too suffer because of their illegal actions,” Solanki said.

The deputy commissioner said he had asked ward commissioners of Jorhat Municipal Board to assist in the process by organising meetings with the residents and urging them to cooperate with the administration.

Solanki cautioned that if people, after being approached in a restrained manner, do not pay heed, then action would be taken according to provisions of law.

He added that encroachments along streams and roads could be evicted without issuing notices.

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) opposed the district administration issuing notices to over 60 families residing at Naisuk Borigaon along the Bhogdoi river. It claimed that those families were displaced people of Majuli who had lost their land and property because of floods and erosion and had been residing in the area since 1956. A KMSS delegation, led by its secretary Vedanta Lashkar, met Solanki and submitted a memorandum urging the government not to evict the families until alternative land was allotted to them.

Solanki told this correspondent that he had agreed to consider their proposal and had asked the revenue department to find vacant land, if available.

Sources in the administration said a majority of encroachments were along the two streams Tarajan and Tocklai and also along the banks of the Bhogdoi.

They said in several areas of the town large residential and commercial complexes (multi-storyed buildings) have been constructed along the streams and the river by allegedly encroaching both sides of the water bodies by extending the constructions.

Continuous dumping of garbage over the years has severely hampered flow of the streams resulting in artificial floods in the town.

Sources said massive encroachments were suspected to be have taken place.