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Assam Forest Department Accused Of Violating Forest Conservation Laws

Guwahati: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pointed out that a case registered on September 27, 2023, concerning violations of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 in the Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary and Charduar Reserve Forest in Assam’s Sonitpur District remains unresolved. The NGT highlighted that illegal constructions made under the Assam Forest Department’s watch years […]

Guwahati: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pointed out that a case registered on September 27, 2023, concerning violations of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 in the Sonai Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary and Charduar Reserve Forest in Assam’s Sonitpur District remains unresolved.

The NGT highlighted that illegal constructions made under the Assam Forest Department’s watch years ago are still standing. The Tribunal criticized an affidavit by the current Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), Rajpal Singh, IFS, calling it “an eye-wash and defective,” and demanded a new affidavit within a week.

Earlier, the NGT found that trees were uprooted, and wildlife was displaced in these protected areas for constructing sluice gates by the Irrigation Department, ring wells by the Public Health Engineering Department, illegal schools, private tea gardens, and illegal roads.

Environmental activist Dilip Nath expressed concerns, stating, “Assam is known for man-elephant conflicts, with Sonitpur being a hotspot. The reserve forest area is now filled with schools, highways, and other structures. How can such constructions be legal inside wildlife reserves?”

The NGT directed the State Government to identify officers who permitted these constructions, violating the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980. The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change was also asked to investigate.

Special Secretary M.K. Yadava was accused of illegally diverting large areas of reserved forest land and clearing related papers after becoming Special Chief Secretary. Nath criticized the misuse of central funds and the reappointment of retired IFS officer MK Yadava as Special Chief Secretary, citing multiple violations of administrative rules.

The Assam Congress strongly opposed Yadava’s reappointment, adding to the ongoing controversy.

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assam department accused for violating lawEnvironmental activist Dilip Nath conern over AssamNGT ponited out assam forest department for viaolating lawSpecial Secretary M.K. Yadava was accused of illegally diverting large areas of reserved forest landTDGThe Daily Guardian