DIBRUGARH, April 27 - Following a review meeting in the Circuit House here among all the divisional forest officers of the Eastern Assam Circle (EAC), Forest and Environment Minister Atuwa Munda today said that at least 26 lives were lost, 369 houses were pulled down and several hectares of standing crops were destroyed during the period 2013-14 to 2015-16 in the forest circle comprising Doomdooma, Digboi, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat and Golaghat forest divisions.
The Forest Minister said that the State government will pay the ex gratia to the next of kin of those who died in the man-animal conflict during the period as also disburse the compensation for the houses demolished and crops destroyed due to animal depredation. �We have asked for the bank account numbers as payments will be made into the account numbers of the victims� family,� he said.
Out of the 26 deaths, ten deaths have been reported from Doomdooma, nine from Jorhat, five from Golaghat and one each from Digboi and Sivasagar forest divisions. �Rs 1 lakh each will be paid as ex gratia to the next of kin of those who died in the human-wildlife conflict and few thousands will be given as compensation for the houses and crops destroyed,� Munda said.
In the review meeting the Forest and Environment department also resolved to go for a massive plantation drive in the region. The Forest Minister said that the department would plant near about fourteen to fifteen lakh saplings by June-July next. �We will undertake new plantations in some 1,078 hectares of land in the region and fill vacancies in existing plantations of some 1,349 hectares,� the minister said.