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80 pc applications for settlement in forest land rejected in Lakhimpur: Official


Lakhimpur, July 5: The Assam government has rejected 80 percent of applications that were filed seeking settlement right in forest land of Lakhimpur district, an official said on Sunday.

Altogether, 3,390 applications were received by the district administration for settlement in the forest land under the FRA, and 2,743 of them were rejected, the official informed Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya at a review meeting. The remaining 647 applications were under review, he said. During the meeting, the minister asked the officials to expedite processing of the applications which are under review and said all the people, except those who have land rights under the Forest Regulation Act (FRA), will be evicted.

"Not an inch of forest land will be allowed to be encroached upon by neighbouring states or local people, and all will be evicted in due course of time," Suklabaidya said.

The forest officials apprised him of the fact that "2,436 hectares of land has been encroached upon by a neighbouring state and 4,440 hectares by local people". The minister asked the officials to carry out an eviction drive in Pobha reserve forest in Dhemaji district with the help of the civil and police administrations. He also directed them to undertake massive plantation programmes under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority during the Van Mahotsav Week, which is being celebrated from July 1. Suklabaidya requested Deputy Commissioner Sumit Sattawan to arrange funds from District Mineral Foundation Trust (DMFT) for procuring tree guards under the "Green Lakhimpur" initiative.

The issue of man-elephant conflict was also discussed in the meeting, with the minister stating that compensation would be given to the next of kin of those killed in jumbo attacks. Adequate compensation would also be paid to those who suffer financial losses due to damage of standing paddy by elephants, he added.

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