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By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: The KHADC has unanimously resolved to demand the State Government to revoke its notification declaring the various forest lands in West and South West Khasi Hills joining Balpakram as ‘Elephant Reserve Forest’.
Replying to a motion moved by Mawthengkut UDP MDC FK Ryntathiang on the second day of the Autumn Session of the Council here on Wednesday, the KHADC CEM Pynshngain N Syiem said, “We would demand for withdrawal of the notification since the Government has not taken the Council and the land owners into confidence before declaring the forest areas in Khasi Hills as Elephant Reserve Forest.”
Syiem further said the decision of the government undermines the role of the Council on issues concerning land belonging to indigenous people. The KHADC CEM also felt that the government should have consulted the land owners, who came to know of the developments through media reports, before coming to a decision.Earlier, while moving the motion, Ryntathiang said that the decision of the government to declare the forest lands as elephant reserve is against the land tenure system of the State. Commenting on the order issued on July 11 through the Department of Forest and Environment, the UDP MDC said land in Meghalaya belonged to people and the government’s intention to evict the residents for the creation of an elephant reserve area is against the rights of the residents. “The government’s move would deprive people of their right to earn livelihood,” Mawthengkut MDC said. While participating in the motion, Mawkyrwat MDC Enbin K Raswai (HSPDP) said the government should revoke the order on declaring parts of West Khasi Hills as an elephant reserve.