KARIMGANJ, Feb 2 � Dipankar Ghosh, president of Shuruwat, an NGO of Karimganj, in a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister expressed concern over the problem of encroachment in reserve forests under Karimganj forest division, which is posing a threat to forest resources.
Ghosh, in the memorandum, disclosed that there are six reserved forests in Karimganj district and 837 families have encroached 1,197 hectares in the 15,139.90 hectares large Longai RF, 684 families are occupying 1,322.36 hectares of the 7,513.81 hectares area of Badsahitilla RF and 268 families have occupied 795 hectares out of 3,478.28 hectare of Duhalia RF.
In Singla RF, 661.17 hectare land, out of 12,429.53 hectares, has been occupied by 881 families, 191 families are living on 107.20 hectares of the 1848 hectares area of Tilbhum RF, while 469 families are encroaching 414.55 hectare of 7,647.35 hectares area of Patharia RF.
The �Shuruwat� president informed that besides the above figures, there are 43 recognised forest villages and 17 Tangiya villages. The Tangiya villages comprise the tribal people and each family was allotted 2 bighas of land for betel leaf cultivation for a period of 3 years during the 1970s on a condition that within this period they should change their practice of shifting cultivation. At the time of establishment of such villages, the total number of families were about 250, but due to population growth the number of families has increased ten times. Besides the population growth, the Tangiya villages all the time invited their own community members to illegally occupy RF land. As per the latest census more than 75 per cent of the total Tangiya villagers are not the original allottees. The memorandum further said that it is very unfortunate that instead of betel leaf cultivation, more than 100 fisheries have been set up by obstructing natural flow of water alongwith jhum cultivation both in low and high land. In this way about 50 per cent of the total RF area is under heavy biotic interference. However, this is a common picture all over the State.
Narrating the background of encroachment, Dipankar Ghosh disclosed that the forest and Tangiya village dwellers are voters in the GP, LAC, HPC elections and political patronage can not be denied. Moreover, different churches are also concerned as inhabitants of most Tangiya villagers are tribal Christians originating from Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura and hence the international linkage of the churches play a pivotal role in the matter. On the plea of Tribal Act, 2006, the Tangyas continuously invite their own community members.