Plea to protect environment

A former executive member of the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council has sought the Assam government's intervention in alleged deforestation and illegal boulder collection from the rivers of Dima Hasao district in south Assam.

By Samsul Alam
  • Published 29.07.18
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Felled logs in Dima Hasao district. Picture by Samsul Alam

Haflong: A former executive member of the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council has sought the Assam government's intervention in alleged deforestation and illegal boulder collection from the rivers of Dima Hasao district in south Assam.

Golon Daulagapu, a former executive member of the council, submitted a memorandum in this regard to chief secretary T.Y. Das on Friday.

He alleged that sawmills in Langting, Umrangso, Diyungbra and Maibang were illegally procuring logs from reserve forests in Langting-Mupa, Kruming, Borial and other forest areas by hoodwinking police and forest officials, claiming ownership of lands by showing forged documents.

The Supreme Court had banned timber collection in 1996.

Collection of boulders from the major rivers of Dima Hasao with big excavators was also a matter of concern, he stated in his memorandum. The boulders are sold to construction companies at a very high rate, he added.

Water levels in all the rivers of Dima Hasao district are shrinking fast. All tributaries, streams and fountains are drying up because of collection of boulders which provide natural protection to the rivers, he stated.

Daulagapu said, "I have submitted a complaint to the chief secretary and I hope the state government will take appropriate steps, failing which the only hill district of the state will lose the tag of greenest district of Assam.

"It came to my notice that the law violators show low-grade timbers on paper but actually smuggle out high-quality timber, thus depriving the autonomous council of huge revenue.

The council, because funds crunch, is unable to pay salaries to its employees. They have not got salaries for the past 10 months," Daulagapu said.

He said the smugglers use China-made portable tree-felling machines which can fell a huge number of trees in a short time. He said preventing the use of this machine was a daunting task.

"At present, many areas of the district, including its headquarters Haflong, are facing an acute water crisis because of collection of boulders. Several aquatic species, including fish, which were found aplenty even a few years back, are now on the verge of extinction because of ecological imbalance. If these problems continue, Dima Hasao will become a desert very soon. Tree-felling and collection of boulders from rivers must stop," Daulagapu said.

Sources alleged that some members of the present council were involved in deforestation and illegal collection of boulders.