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Guwahati: The Assam government’s proposal to cut down close to 5,000 Sal trees in Dabaka, near Hojai, has evoked strong reactions from residents of the area, especially at a time when Climate change has begun showing effects in the region.

The 13-km stretch of road linking Hojai district to Karbi Anglong is famous for its Bagan with Sal trees, most of which are close to a century old.

This year, Assam saw lower-than-expected rainfall and a massive deforestation drive at such a time could prove disastrous for the region.

Assam lost 14.1 per cent of its green cover owing to large-scale deforestation and destruction of forest resources in the last 20 years, according to recent satellite data analysed by researchers at the University of Maryland.

Karbi Anglong tops the list having lost 97.4-kilo hectares (Kha) of green cover, followed by Dima Hasao with 63.2 Kha, Sonitpur 17.4 Kha, Tinsukia 13.2 Kha and Kokrajhar 10.4 Kha canopy cover, the report said.

“The Assam government has drafted a proposal to strike down the forest to construct four-lane roads. The forest department has not yet allowed the felling of trees,” sources told EastMojoLocals, however, allege that the trees in the area have been marked for felling.

The forest has been home to nearly 600 residents, angered at the fact that the department did not feel the need to ask them before deciding to destroy their environment.

It is still unclear whether an impact assessment of the same was conducted as the project is still in its preliminary stage and has not yet been cleared by the forest department Assam.

Also read: Assam lost 14.1% forest cover in 20 years, Karbi Anglong worst affected

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