JONAI, June 20 - At a time when State�s Forest Minister has adopted a proactive role against illegal activities in Reserve Forest areas, fresh encroachment in Poba Reserve Forest (RF) under Dhemaji territorial Forest Division has been reported by the fringe villagers.
Local villagers of Rigbi at Bahir-Jonai, a fringe village of Poba RF in a report submitted to the Range Forest office here noted that some outsiders are constructing dwelling houses at Silikha portion of Poba RF near Tinmail beat office. The illegal settlers reportedly encroached forest land for housing and cultivation purposes, destroyed forest wealth. The villagers, in the written complaint demanded the Forest authority to take prompt steps to evict the encroachers and make the area free from encroachment. �There was a forest guard quarter at the encroached portion, which was lying abandoned for two years. The encroachers, taking advantage of absence of the foresters, encroached the area and constructed dwelling houses under the very nose of the foresters posted at Tinmail Beat office�, the local villagers have lamented.
According to environmentalists, remaining forest cover in Poba RF is protecting entire Jonai area from flood fury and erosion posed by Siang and Lali rivers. The increasing trend of forest destruction led to degradation of ecosystems in the area, while the rivers and perennial streams are posing serious threat to the fringe villages.
Forest department officials here said that they earlier had served notices to the encroachers and set a deadline of one week to dismantle all structures made on forest land, but the encroachers didn�t take any note of it and are carrying out the illegal activities without any hesitation.