Guwahati: An octogenarian landowner has appealed to the Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sharma to expedite government procedures for justice against land-grabbers. 

Bap Chandra Borthakur owns land in the Raghubari area under Kharadhara revenue village of upper Assam’s Sivasagar district. He expressed concern over the delay in legal action against the accused persons, who were allegedly involved in land-grabbing and the destruction of several big trees and nests of wild birds. The incident has been reported in many vernacular and English language daily newspapers since December 14 and caused concern even in the nerve centre of the state administration in Dispur. 

The landowner and his family members had to stay in Guwahati for his health-related problems for the past year, during which the wrongdoers forcefully grabbed his land, the octogenarian complainant alleged.

As the plantation of trees and their conservation is placed on the priority list of the Prime Minister and Chief Minister of the state, the incident of destruction of trees with violation of government rules caused serious concern among sensitive members of civil society of the state.

In February, an expert committee constituted by the Supreme Court stated that the true value of a 100-year-old tree is around Rs 72 lakh if its contribution to oxygen and other environmental parameters is calculated.

As the local administration in Sivasagar has not taken any visible legal action against the wrongdoers in the past many days, the landowner submitted a prayer petition at the chief minister’s secretariat at Janata Bhavan. He described the incidents of trespassing, land-grabbing and uprooting of several valuable forest resources by violating laws at his myadi patta plot at the ecologically-sensitive village in Sivasagar district, which is a rich biodiversity hotspot too.

“The incidents were an utter violation of many laws including The Right To Fair Compensation And Transparency In Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation And Resettlement Act, 2013, Wildlife Protection Act,1972 and The Assam Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Act, 2010. I need justice from the government and therefore submitted the prayer petition at the office of the Honourable Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma,” said the complainant. 

It is pertinent to be mentioned that the accused persons were not booked by Gaurisagar police under the provisions of Assam Landgrabbing (Prohibition) Act,2010 and Wildlife Protection Act,1972 for the commitment of the crimes. 

The victim family lodged an FIR on December 15 with the Gaurisagar Police Station under the Sivasagar Superintendent of Police. Witten complaints were also submitted to the Deputy Commissioner and the Divisional Forest Officer (Territorial) office.

Several local citizens of Dikhowmukh and its adjoining areas said over the telephone that brushing aside all existing government rules, two Sivasagar-based contractors and an assistant engineer of the water resources department allegedly violated various laws a few days ago. They caused serious damage to the flora and fauna of ecologically-sensitive historic Dikhowmuk by uprooting several valuable trees and damaging the nests of many birds on a private plot.

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