Shambhu Boro

TEZPUR, Feb 14: Wildlife lovers representing different green organisations have strongly opposed the act of illegal sale of land falling under elephant corridor areas at Depota-Na Ali under Tezpur Revenue Circle in Sonitpur district.

It may be mentioned here that over the years, wild elephant herds that forage for green fodder after straying from Nameri National Park and Sonai-Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary have been creating mayhem among the villagers of greater Bihaguri, Depota, Pithakhowa and Puthimari areas and thereby compounding the ever-growing human-elephant conflict in the area. Amidst all this, it was observed during the last few years that a particular herd of pachyderms had been using a particular route in the Depota-Na-ali area by crossing NH-15 to reach Arimora Chapori on the bank of the Brahmaputra and graze in a particular area.

Observing this, the Forest Department as per the Wildlife Act and government’s instruction, notified the area as an elephant corridor by erecting a concrete signboard in the area, following which during the last couple of years villagers in the vicinity got respite from the otherwise often witnessed human-elephant conflict.

However, at the same time it is alleged that some land mafias in connivance with a section of officials of Tezpur Revenue Circle are covertly selling plots inside the said elephant corridor to some unscrupulous industrialists who willingly violate all stipulated norms of the state’s Land and Revenue Department.

“With the help of dishonest officials of the Revenue Circle Office in Tezpur, the land mafias under reference along with the unscrupulous industrialists manage to pay their way through and execute construction work in the elephant corridor area,” the locals alleged, adding that violating the change of Land Class Change Act-2015 for the lure of the lucre, certain officials of Tezpur Revenue Circle Office openly patronise the seedy land mafias and unscrupulous industrialists. For this reason, several bighas of agricultural land have been converted into business class, thereby degrading the ecological condition of the area.

Moreover, the district administration is also to be blamed in this regard as this illegal act has been going on with impunity under the very nose of the law enforcers of the district administration.

Sonitpur district Forest Department, which has been working sincerely to mitigate the human-elephant conflict cases in the area, besides trying to save the elephant corridor, has urged the government to intervene in the issue.

Exasperated by the modus operandi of the concerned officials, the locals along with several wildlife organisations have in the meantime resolved to build up a very strong mass democratic movement in the days ahead to galvanise public opinion on the illegal activities.