Dibrugarh: State Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya opened up the Dihing Patkai National Park (DPNP), covering the twin districts of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh. The Park is yet to be freed from the encroachment from Arunachal Pradesh. The Forest department remained a mute spectator when the encroachment and illegal tree felling began in 1998 in the Nakphan area in 1 hectare of land at the behest of NSCN militants. Environmental activists of Nahakatia-Nampup apprehend that the issue may escalate into border skirmishes once the Assam Government intervenes if the recent spot visit and subsequent statement of Deepsikha Saikia, the newly appointed Circle Officer of Naharkatia.
More than 110 hectares of the prime national park area is under the illegal occupation of Arunachalese, where they not only cultivated tea but established a village- Naitong Village with a road and a concrete bridge. The area is not accessible from the Assam side owing to dense forest and without any boundary demarcation.
This correspondent had a telephonic talk with the DC and the ADC of Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh. Both the officials expressed total ignorance of encroachment. However, before the final gazette notification of DPCP on June 15, 2021, the Dibrugarh district administration issued a public notice on January 1 asking people for claims and objections in prescribed format within two months. Still, it did not hold any public hearing even as the Forest department was well aware of encroachment.
Input: The sentinel