An eviction drive to clear around 450 hectares of forest land from encroachers is underway in Assam's Lakhimpur district on January 10, said officials.
As per reports, out of 2,560.25 hectares of Pava reserved forest, only 29 hectares are currently free of any encroachment, and as many as 10, 500 hectares in Adhasona and Mohghuli villages will be cleared.
Around 701 families have encroached upon the Pava reserved forest land over the last decades and the illegal settlers include from different parts of the state as well as locals displaced due to flood and erosion.
''Today we are carrying out the eviction drive. However, we have been preparing for the last six days. During these six days, we arranged the machinery required for the eviction drive. We left Lakhimpur for the place where eviction is to be done at around 3:30 in the morning with JCBs and all,'' said a police officer while speaking to the media.
However, about 80 families have already left the villages and another 100 are still living in the place the administration has also requested people still living there leave peacefully.
The locals have appealed to the administration, not to carry out an eviction drive.
''The government administration has only informed Muslims about the eviction drive. There are also many Hindus who are encroaching. But the administration has not taken any action against them,'' the illegal encroachers alleged.
In December last year, the district administration of Barpeta district had carried out a massive eviction drive against encroachers
The eviction drive was carried out in the presence of heavy security which had been deployed at the Baghbar Satra Kanpara area where illegal settlers have encroached near 400 bighas of government land.
Police had also detained suspended Congress MLA Sherman Ali who staged a protest against the eviction.
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