While the eviction drive in the peripheral areas of Kaziranga National Park has understandably evoked mass appreciation, conservationists believe that freeing vast tracts of forests including areas inside protected forests (wildlife sanctuaries and national parks) under illegal occupation will be the real test for the Forest Department and the State Government.
As per official data the encroached area inside protected areas (PAs) across the State is 159.69 sq km. Unfortunately, no attempt has been made over the years to clear the encroachment, with the consequence that areas under illegal occupation have kept expanding. Sonai Rupai and Amchang wildlife sanctuaries exemplify best this disturbing phenomenon.
Worse is the case with the reserve forests (RFs) which constitute as much as 82 per cent of the State’s total classified forest cover. Officially, a staggering 3,396 sq km of RFs across the State is under encroachment but the figure is bound to be an understatement given that encroachment has been consistently on the rise in the RFs which do not have any effective protective mechanism.
asomiya pratidin epaper 28/09/2016 : http://asomiyapratidin.in/