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Residents insisting on land, against financial package

By STAFF Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 3 - Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma today told the Assembly that the proposed relocation of the two forest villages of Dadhiya and Laika outside the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park was not materialising as the residents were insisting on land instead of the financial package offered by the State Government.

Brahma was replying to a call attention by Congress legislator Durga Bhumij who alleged that due to forest department�s inertia, the 340-sq km national park � home to the famed feral horse and the State bird, the white-winged wood duck � was languishing and had turned into a haven for depredators of forest wealth.

�There is hardly any semblance of any protective mechanism in Dibru-Saikhowa where poaching and illegal logging is rampant. The skeletal forest staff in the national park is worsening matters further. Illegal saw mills near the national park are flourishing. The situation warrants urgent intervention by the Forest Minister,� Bhumij said.

Brahma, however, sought to play down the situation, saying that poaching and illegal logging was far from rampant that the forest personnel were doing a decent job.

�It is true that the inhabitants of the two forest villages occasionally collect forest materials for their sustenance. As they have been living inside the forest before it was declared a national park, we are allowing this on humanitarian ground,� she said.

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