The reserve forest is spread over 22,403 hectares of land out which 1410 hectres are under encroachment at present.
Hojai divisional forest officer Gaunadeep Das said the first phase of the eviction drive will take place on Monday and Tuesday on about 500 hectares of land in the reserve forest. “There are around 3,000 people living on the 1,410 hectares of land. The district administration as well as the forest department have counselled the people. A few families have understood the fact and left the place. Efforts are on to make the remaining families understand the facts,” Das added.
Two civilians, including a 12-year-old child were killed in police firing at Dholpur in Darrang district on September 23 when villagers attacked the police and officials of district administration during the eviction drive.
Special director general of police (law and order) GP Singh along with Hojai deputy commissioner Anupam Choudhury, superintendent of police Barun Purkayastha along with other top officials visited the area to take stock of the situation on Friday.
Talking to the media, Singh said, “There is a high court order to make the reserve forest encroachment-free. We went there to take stock. Around 80% of the families already have their home at different places of the state. But they came here and settled here for agriculture purposes.”
Gauhati high court had passed the eviction order on September 14, while hearing a petition filed by BJP leader Shiladitya Dev.
The state had submitted before the court that the eviction drive would be carried out in phases to make the forest encroachment-free.
It may be mentioned that the state government on Wednesday, during a hearing of a batch of PILs on eviction carried out at Dholpur in Assam’s Darrang district in September, said it would not take any coercive action against any person it seeks to evict, unless it is compelled to do so.