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�Force� preventing Amchang Sanctuary protection: Pramila

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, July 8 - Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma today admitted large-scale encroachment inside the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary but expressed her helplessness indicating that a �force� is out to thwart the measures taken to preserve the protected area.

�We tried to carry out a plantation drive, but we were prevented,� she said at a press conference here, without naming the �force�.

She said the forest department is in the process of conducting an eviction and had outsourced the work of conducting a survey in the reserve forest to an agency.

�The agency conducted a survey in some portions. But it was not allowed to survey in one part of the forest,� she said, adding that the survey conducted in the remaining area has detected some 1,000 families who had settled in the protected area illegally.

The sanctuary, spread over an area of 78.64 sq km, is located on the eastern fringe of Guwahati city.

The Forest Minister, however, said that the Chief Minister�s �nod� will be required to conduct the eviction at the sanctuary. �I will not be able to do it alone. We will have to hold much more discussion on the issue,� she added.

The Gauhati High Court had in 2013 taken up a suo moto PIL over the encroachments inside the sanctuary.

In its latest hearing on June 5 last, the Senior Additional Advocate General of Assam had given an undertaking to file the status report regarding removal of encroachment from the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary within three weeks.

During the last hearing, the forest department had stated that it had sought help from the power department to disconnect the lines providing electricity to the settlers inside the forest area before the eviction can be carried out. It has also sought adequate police protection for the operation.

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�Force� preventing Amchang Sanctuary protection: Pramila

GUWAHATI, July 8 - Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma today admitted large-scale encroachment inside the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary but expressed her helplessness indicating that a �force� is out to thwart the measures taken to preserve the protected area.

�We tried to carry out a plantation drive, but we were prevented,� she said at a press conference here, without naming the �force�.

She said the forest department is in the process of conducting an eviction and had outsourced the work of conducting a survey in the reserve forest to an agency.

�The agency conducted a survey in some portions. But it was not allowed to survey in one part of the forest,� she said, adding that the survey conducted in the remaining area has detected some 1,000 families who had settled in the protected area illegally.

The sanctuary, spread over an area of 78.64 sq km, is located on the eastern fringe of Guwahati city.

The Forest Minister, however, said that the Chief Minister�s �nod� will be required to conduct the eviction at the sanctuary. �I will not be able to do it alone. We will have to hold much more discussion on the issue,� she added.

The Gauhati High Court had in 2013 taken up a suo moto PIL over the encroachments inside the sanctuary.

In its latest hearing on June 5 last, the Senior Additional Advocate General of Assam had given an undertaking to file the status report regarding removal of encroachment from the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary within three weeks.

During the last hearing, the forest department had stated that it had sought help from the power department to disconnect the lines providing electricity to the settlers inside the forest area before the eviction can be carried out. It has also sought adequate police protection for the operation.