Shattered dreams: Evictions reveal the ugly side of ‘owning’ property in Guwahati
Eviction drive in Assam (File Image)

Tezpur: The Assam government on Tuesday commenced an eviction drive to clear “encroachment” in Burhachapori Wildlife Sanctuary in Sonitpur district.

Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner Deba Kumar Mishra claimed that “thousands of people illegally occupied the forest area for decades” and the administration has decided to clear “encroachment on 1,892 hectares of land” during the ongoing exercise.

“According to our records, 2,513 families were residing in the encroached forest area and they were issued notices to vacate the land. Almost all the people had already left before the commencement of the drive,” he claimed.

Around 100 bulldozers, excavators and tractors along with a posse of security personnel were deployed since the morning to demolish the structures and clear the land, the DC said.

One the exercise will be over, the forest department will start an afforestation drive on the encroached-free land.

Notably, the state government had launched a drive to evict “illegal settlers” from forest land in Assam’s Lakhimpur district last month.

The All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) had termed the eviction drive as “inhuman and one-sided” and staged a brief protest in the district.

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The Himanta Biswa Sarma-led dispensation has been carrying out eviction drives in different parts of the state since it assumed power in May 2021, with two such exercises undertaken in December last year.

Setting aside opposition criticism, Sarma had on December 21 last year told the assembly that eviction drives to clear encroachment on government and forest land in Assam would continue as long as the BJP is in power.

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