Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the government won’t allow the Numaligarh Refinery authority to grab more in forest areas in Golaghat district. Rampant encroachment in Deopahar reserve forest by the Numaligarh Refinery prominently figured in the meeting attended by the chief minister who is chairman of the board. Mubina Akhtar, a member of the Board underlined the importance of this forest in the context of Kaziranga and Karbi Anglong landscape.
Deopahar is an important elephant habitat and a crucial transit for migrating pachyderms from Karbi Anglong to Kaziranga and vice-versa. Akhtar on behalf of the Deopahar Reserve Forest Demand Committee (Deopahar Sangrakshit Bonanchal Dabi Samity) submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister to declare Deopahar as a Reserve Forest at the earliest and urged him to intervene in banning all illegal activities in the protected area.
Deopahar, with an area of 134 hectares near Numaligarh, in Golaghat district was notified as a proposed reserve forest in 1999. Known for its archeological heritage, Deopahar also hosts unique biological diversity. Chandan Kumar Duworah of the Wildflowers group of who is also a signatory of the memorandum, said that Deopahar is treasure trove of rare flora and fauna. There are many plant species in the forest of Deopahar which are on the verge of extinction.
NRL authorities must immediately leave the encroached area and take steps to recreate forests in the elephant corridor where the Refinery erected a wall obstructing the normal passage of the elephant herds, he said.
In the SBWL meeting, Mubina Akhtar also urged the forest department to reinstate the intelligence cell in the Kaziranga National Park immediately. The Cell was created for integrating data in order to control rhino poaching activities. Interestingly, things were beginning to take shape when the cell was called back for reasons unknown.