GUWAHATI, March 4 - The Gauhati High Court order directing eviction of illegal settlers from the Amchang Wildife Sanctuary was not implemented in letter and spirit and the �very purpose was not served,� NGO Early Birds has alleged.
The NGO, which had in 2013 written a letter to the High Court in 2013, after which a PIL was taken up, said the recent direction of the court to evict the encroachers was only partially implemented through an eviction operation in August and November last year.
�The sanctuary primarily comprises three reserve forests � Khanapara reserve forest, Amchang reserve forest and South Amchang reserve forest. In 1953, the Khanapara reserve forest was notified with an area of 9.96 sq km. The Amchang reserve forest was notified in 1972 with an area of 53.18 sq km. Lastly, in 1990, the South Amchang reserve forest was notified with an area of 15.50 sq km. Ultimately, on June 19, 2004, the Assam government declared these three reserve forests as the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972,� Moloy Baruah, president of the NGO, said.
He said the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary is located within the geographical limits of 91.50`E to 92.03` East longitude and 26.08`N to 26.26`North latitude covering an area of almost 78.64 sq km.
�After well defining of the border, how disputes have come up is a matter of surprise to the people. Eviction drive was carried out in the Batahghuli, Iushuf Nagar and adjacent areas and it did not touch the main Amchang area which harbours most of the wildlife. The bulk of the wildlife are facing threats from human interference from near the Birkuchi sentry camp because new areas like Kalitakuchi, Taltola, etc, had sprung up after declaration of Amchang as a sanctuary,� he said.
Baruah said the Taltola habitat is growing further and encroaching into the Amchang sanctuary, and the new area is known as Emli Basti.
�This has further aggravated the situation. If a check is not put by evicting Emli Basti, the sanctuary will have a natural death within a span of a few years. Amchang is protected by many sentry camps including the Range office at Bonda, but they have remained a mute spectator to the problem in the last 14 years of life span of the sanctuary. This is a mystery to the people, especially when there are eight PCCF rank officers in the top-heavy Forest department,� he said.
There are 24 species of mammals in the sanctuary and among them some are very rare and endangered. Hoolock gibbon is feared to have been lost as nobody had hard its mystic voice for a long time, the NGO claimed, demanding of the government to institute an inquiry against the Forest officials who were at the helm of the affairs at Amchang between 2006 to 2012 for handing over forest land to the unscrupulous traders to set up business establishments.