GUWAHATI: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday asked the environment and forest and revenue department to permanently rehabilitate the families of two villages of Laika and Dodhia forest villages by January 31.
Sonowal directed the forest department to find out modalities in close coordination with the revenue department and rehabilitate the families elsewhere by January 31.
The chief minister also constituted a 10 member committee with the environment and forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya as its chairperson and revenue and disaster management minister as its member and principal secretary forest as its member secretary.
The other members of the committee are MP, Lakhimpur, MLA Chabua, MLA Dhemaji, commissioner and secretary revenue and disaster management, principal chief conservator of forests and deputy commissioner Tinsukia and Lakhimpur.
Sonowal asked the committee to find a logical and permanent solution to the problem of rehabilitation of families presently residing in Laika and Dodhia under Dibru Saikhowa National Park within one month.
In response to the earmarking of the new lands for the permanent rehabilitation of the families, the chief minister also asked the forest department to conduct a survey and complete it within one week so that the rehabilitation process can be started on an emergent basis.
He also asked the committee to design a rehabilitation package to include the needs of drinking water, electricity, and immediate medical requirements etc of the rehabilitated families.
He also said that the new area of rehabilitation should not be flood-prone and erosion-prone and once rehabilitated the dwellers should take steps to plant saplings in their dwelling places to sustain the green nature of the area.
Sonowal also met a delegation of the families of Laika and Dodhia villages and talked to them, listened to their grievances and assured them that they will be rehabilitated within 31 January 2020.
The villagers have been demanding their immediate rehabilitation in the proposed 470 ha land forest land of Owguri area of upper Dihing reserve forest division.
The rehabilitation of the two forest villages remained a vexed issue since 1999 after Dibru-Saikhowa Wildlife Sanctuary was upgraded to the national park, thereby depriving them of their basic right.
Over 1000 families from the two forest village areas have been camping at Borguri near in Tinsukia district since December 21 and pressing for immediate settlement