Udalguri/Guwahati: An FIR has been registered against the executive member of Tangla Municipal Board Shantanu Das for his alleged role in the felling of bamboo trees which led to killing of scores of egrets in Udalguri district, officials said.
The forest department has filed the FIR against Das, they said.
Divisional Forest Officer, Dhansiri Forest Division, N K Bordoloi investigated the incident and found that the executive member had served notices on June 8 to five residents of Ward Number 1 and 2 to clear the bamboo groves nesting the egrets and their fledglings as the “droppings of birds were creating unhygienic environment which may increase the risk of COVID-19 infection in the area”.
A case under Section 55 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 was filed in this connection.
Scores of birds were killed when the bamboo grove was felled by the municipal workers.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had directed that an inquiry be conducted into the incident of killing of egrets and Environment and Forest Minister, Parimal Suklabaidya had directed Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), Amit Sahai to probe into the incident and submit a report immediately.
Bordoloi informed that 88 egret fledglings have been rescued and sent to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation at Kaziranga.
Egrets are listed under Schedule IV of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Meanwhile, a local journalist, Shajid Khan was allegedly assaulted in Tangla town by supporters of the Municipal Board chairman Dilip Boro.
Khan had gone to the area on learning that the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) (Wildlife) and the Executive Member (EM), Forest, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), were visiting the parts where the bamboo plants were felled.
Khan said when he reached the area the PCCF and the EM had already left the area and he was confronted by some supporters of Boro, who is also a member of Council Legislative Assembly (MCLA) of BTC and a leader of the ruling United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).
“These people blamed me for breaking the news of the cutting of the trees and alleged that I was acting with ulterior motives. They started shoving and pushing me. Someone tried to snatch my mobile phone and gold chain from my neck,” he claimed.
The office in-charge of Tangla police station, who was present at the spot, along with some local women, took him and his associate to safety, Khan claimed.
Narrating the incident on Twitter, Khan said: “Goons of Tangla Municipal Board Chairman cum Khalingduar MCLA and #UPPL leader, Dilip Boro attacked me at the site of death of nearly 250 number of cattle egrets in Tangla town of Udalguri district.”
Reacting to Khan’s tweet, Assam Police Special Director General of Police G P Singh sought details on the case from the local police, while the Assam Police’s official Twitter handle also informed that the incident was being looked into.
Khan, however, did not file any police complaint and later tweeted: “I am safe and sound, and have not lodged any complaint regarding the incident and the matter has been resolved amicably. Thank you everyone for your kind support.”
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