GUWAHATI, Dec 2 - Settlers evicted from Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary have produced voter identity cards, electricity bills and documents regarding land. There is more to the list now.
In what is bound to show several government agencies in bad light, it has emerged that the cement plant �evicted� near Jorabat on Wednesday has a licence issued by the Chief Inspector of Factories to operate from the area.
The plan to set up the SM Calchem Industries was approved by the Office of the Chief Inspector of Factories on May 17, 2010, six years after Amchang was declared a wildlife sanctuary. The licence was last renewed in 2016, according to documents in possession of this newspaper.
The industry was also given a no objection certificate provided by the village headman of �Karchia� village under Pachbari mouza to set up the factory at �Amerigog�.
The Pollution Control Board, Assam too had issued a �provisional consent to establish� the manufacturing unit, according to the document dated November 16, 2010.
Moloy Baruah of Early Birds, an organisation on whose petition the Gauhati High Court had taken up a PIL on the Amchang encroachments way back in 2013, said the authorities have given the permission clearly in violation of the existing rules and laws.
�Officials of the Pollution Control Board, gaon panchayat, revenue and forest have connived to give these industries access to the forbidden lands,� Baruah said.
�Such industries can create so much pollution. Was there any mechanism to monitor the parameters? A section of forest department officials was in fact allegedly squeezing the forest area by changing the location of the pillars to facilitate such industries and other encroachers,� he said.
Personnel in the eviction team said the industries were discharging their waste to streams of the sanctuary. �The colour of the adjacent streams has changed,� an official who was part of the eviction team said.
A senior forest official also revealed that there are reports that some of the evicted properties belonged to government officials. �We have been told that the encroachers include government officials. But it is not easy to ascertain it. No one will come forward to claim it now,� he said.
When asked, Kamrup Metro Deputy Commissioner M Angamuthu admitted there have been many claims from the evicted people. �Some have produced myadi patta and other such papers. We are examining the documents. It will take some time to verify their claims. If it is a revenue land, we are also checking if there are any other violations,� he said.
The deputy commissioner also said a survey is on to identify if there are more commercial establishments within the sanctuary. However, forest officials have identified only two industries so far, both of which were evicted on Wednesday.