The Telegraph
Sunday , January 12 , 2014
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Forest site ravaged at Mariani

Jorhat, Jan. 11: A team of forest department staff and police today visited Disoi reserve forest along the Assam-Nagaland border in Mariani of the district and found a large area where trees had been uprooted and cleared.

The team, which included Mariani forest department range officer D. Medhi and Jorhat district border magistrate Narsing Bey, found over 2.5km of forest area where trees and bushes had been uprooted.

Medhi told The Telegraph that trees had been uprooted from an area of the forest, that is close to Mokokchung district of Nagaland.

He said it appeared that criminals had damaged the forest area in the past two to three days.

The range officer said villagers in the nearby forest had reported movement inside the forest and informed the forest department staff.

Medhi said it could not be ascertained whether the trees had been uprooted to make way for construction or cultivation.

He had informed his superiors and the border magistrate would take up the matter with his Mokokchung counterpart.

Sources said the Jorhat administration was expected to lodge a protest with the Mokokchung district administration as status quo should have been maintained by both the states according to a Supreme Court order.

The apex court, where the case relating to the boundary dispute between the two states (Assam and Nagaland) is pending, had asked the states to maintain status quo and appointed a commission to carry out a study on the decades-old problem.

The border area witnesses tension from time to time with allegations of encroachment against people from Nagaland upon forest area that Assam claims to be its own.

Attacks on Assam villagers and incidents of firing, abduction and extortion, resulting in economic blockades against Nagaland have also affected inter-state ties.

Last year, the area had witnessed the abduction of three tea garden labourers and the death of one in firing at Naginijan tea estate.