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Eviction from grazing reserve demanded


BARPETA, June 6 � The people of Sarukshetri Mouza in Barpeta district have demanded immediate eviction of the encroachers from the grazing reserve in and around Kapala Beel under Sarthebari revenue circle.

A mass demonstration was organised by the Barkapala Gaon Unnayan Samiti on Thursday morning in front of the Sarthebari Revenue Circle Office where people of several villages participated. The demonstrators demanded eviction of Kaldi Grazing Reserve, desiltation of the pond illegally dug at Salmara reserve, protection of all the grazing reserves to prevent encroachment, to ensure safety of indigenous people from the onslaught of encoachers and allotment of land to public institutions.

They also demanded adequate punishment to the culprits involved in the attack of Dalim Nath, a youth hailing from Barkapala village who was manhandled allegedly by some illegal encroacers on June 1 last.

A memorandum addressed to the Deputy Commissioner of Barpeta was handed over to the Circle Officer at Sarthebari. The memorandum, signed by Nalini Kumar Sarma and Santa Kumar Das informed that Kaldi and Salmara are two important and historical protected grazing reserves under Sarthebari Revenue Circle in Barpeta district. Some illegal occupants suspected to be migrants have built dwelling houses and dug fisheries in these reserves during the last few years. A group clash erupted between the local people and the encroachers in 2006 where a number of people were injured. The tension subsided after active intervention of the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Barpeta, which was followed by formation of a peace commitee and some guidelines to prevent further encroachment.

It is a matter of regret that a section of people did not follow the suggestions of the authorities and went on an encroachment spree in the protected grazing reserve. Apart from building residences, they even dug fisheries covering about 200 bighas of land.

The memorandum alleged that though the people of this area had been requesting the circle officer of Sarthebari to take appropriate steps to evict the encroachers several times, he has turned a deaf ear to their request so far.

For the record, a youth was attacked by miscreants when he went in search of his pet in the reserve on June 1 last, injuring him grievously which necessitated him to be admitted in the Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College at Barpeta. Though and FIR was lodged, no arrest has been made so far. As a result, an uneasy calm has been prevailing in the area since the last five days.

The people therefore demanded early steps to protect the grazing reserve from the onslaught of the encroachers, most of whom are suspected migrants, and ensure safety of the indigenous people.

It may be mentioned that encroachment on Government land is a regular phenomenon. It has been going on for several decades. Though the people have been demanding adequate steps for eviction and precautionary measures to check further encroachment, the authorities concerned has been turning a blind eye to the requests for reasons best known to them. If this problem is not solved with priority, there will be no Government open land in the district within a few years from now. Besides, it may create an unwarranted situation in the near future.

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