JORABAT, Aug 27 - The lone goat research centre of Assam and the Northeast is facing an existential crisis with approximately 90 bighas of its land under illegal occupation by local people.
When asked about the matter, the Chief Scientist of the Goat Research Centre, Byrnihat, Dr Abdul Saleque said that a plot of around 70 bighas was allotted for the Goat Research Centre (GRC) by the Assam Agricultural University and another 90 bighas allotted under the Department of Veterinary, Assam, which was under its occupation since 1973.
�This was the de facto land of the GRC which it used for grazing the pure bred goats they brought and produced there at the centre. But these 90 bighas have come under encroachment long back, with the local people being the illegal settlers. A letter was also written by the Director of Research (Veterinary) to the Deputy Commissioner, Kamrup (Metropolitan) in 2005, requesting the authorities to make the area free of illegal occupation, and to transfer the name of the owner of the land from the Department of Veterinary to the GRC.
Following this, the Deputy Commissioner asked for a report from the Circle Officer of Sonapur revenue circle on the area, but strangely no report was sent to the DC's office.
Dr Saleque said, �After that letter the illegal encroachment gained further momentum and more than 50 per cent of the land is now under illegal occupation.�
In 2014, the Director of Research (Veterinary), Khanapara, again wrote a letter to the Kamrup(M) Deputy Commissioner, with the DC once again calling for a report from the Circle officer (CO) but the CO in his report said that there was no document of the area with the Circle Office and that the land of the Veterinary Department was under the occupation of other people.
Dr Saleque said that the mandal of the laat concerned also came to the area, but ironically he could not figure out anything, saying instead that there was no such land of the GRC there.
The land claimed by the GRC is an area on a hillside which they previously used to graze the goats.
Recently, 11 goats drowned in the flash floods as the people occupying the land did not allow the goats to move to the higher place. They also did not allow the GRC to construct a shelter there during flash floods.
The centre has stopped producing valuable frozen semen which is used for producing high-yielding milk-producing goats due to the activities of the illegal occupants. The Centre lost pure bred goats like Beetal, Sirohi, etc.
Recently, scientists of the centre had convened a press meet to highlight the issue.
The scientists visited the Sonapur Circle Officer, Munindra Nath Ngatey, on Wednesday and they were given an assurance that the land under illegal occupation would be freed after a scientific survey was done by the Land and Revenue Department of Assam, and that the land would also be registered in the name of the Goat Research Centre, Byrnihat, Dr Saleque said.
The CO also requested the GRC authority to submit an application for the purpose to the Kamrup (M) Deputy Commissioner again.