JORABAT, Aug 20 - Massive hill cutting activity at Sonapur affecting the biodiversity of the region has caused concern among environmentalists and conscious sections of society. Already, several green hills under Sonapur forest range have been flattened.
Recently amidst the lockdown itself, earth cutting was carried out near the 30-bed hospital road and other spots in Khetri and Sonapur areas.
According to the local people, earth cutting is carried out by a nexus of some forest personnel and mafia. With the forest cover in the area being reduced day by day, the ecological balance and natural beauty of the area have been badly affected.
A resident of the 30-bed hospital road at Khetri, in a video statement that has been obtained by The Assam Tribune, said, �Despite a (forest) department existing here, no action has been taken against the lawbreakers even after repeated complaints.�
The resident further expressed his displeasure with the forest department as the noisy earth carrying dumpers that run through the village roads, have put an end to the peaceful nights of the locals.
On the other hand, public outcry seems to have made no difference to excavators and bulldozers chipping away at hill slopes, as the forest department remains a mute spectator and refrains from bringing the lawbreakers to book.
There are allegations galore about officials being involved only in destruction activity and making money.
A visit to the spot along the 30-bed hospital road bears testimony to the allegations. When this correspondent visited the site, several people showed the village roads that had been damaged by the dumpers. Verbal and written complaints to the Sonapur forest ranger bore no fruit.
The local residents also alleged that while the earthmovers were removed after strong protests a few days back, the hill cutting activities along this road have remained unhindered, as manual labourers have been engaged to cut the soil and small vehicles engaged to transport the cut soil.
However, when contacted, Sonapur forest ranger Dilip Das refuted all the allegations of the local people. He also claimed that recently a senior police officer had carried out hill cutting at Khetri. He however refused to name the police officer.