Forest dept acts tough on illegal sand mining near border

Five mahals demolished, 7 excavators seized in periodic raids

GUWAHATI: The Assam forest department has upped the ante against illegal extraction of natural resources, raiding and demolishing as many as five huge sand mahals, believed to be hot beds of illegal sand mining, along the Kulsi river close to the inter-state border in lower Assam’s Kamrup district.

Official sources informed on Tuesday that three mahals were demolished at Bahatpur, two at Kahua and one at Besimari, in successful raids conducted periodically by the forest department as part of a long-term drive against illegal extraction of sand from river beds across the state.

“The five sand mahals were demolished by a special team from the territorial division of Kamrup West under the direction of divisional forest officer, Ranjan Goswami with support from the staff of the division and police personnel,” Sailendra Pandey, PRO to state environment and forest minister, Parimal Suklabaidya, said.

Seven excavators used for extracting illegal sand in the mahals were also seized during the operation.

It is significant to mention that the five sand mahals were kept in abeyance in the wake of a report by the Wildlife Institute of India about the presence of river dolphins in the Kulsi river.

The state forest minister praised the team for the successful operations and assured that the department will continue to act hard and loud against all kinds of illegal natural resources extraction across the state to fulfill its commitment towards the protection and preservation of the natural resources and the flora and fauna of Assam.

Timber seized 

In another raid, the Kamrup West division of the state forest department seized illegally-cut sal wood worth Rs 2 lakh from a country boat at Balagaon char under Chaygaon constituency in Kamrup district on Tuesday morning, official sources informed.

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