Assam CM urges DFOs to keep forest land free from encroachment

Guwahati, Aug 14 (PTI) Noting that elimination of corrupt practices is one of the top priorities of his government, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday asked DFOs to protect forest land in the state and keep the resource free from encroachment.

He also appealed to them to keep a strict vigil on forest land and act swiftly to prevent encroachment activities.

During an interaction with the DFOs of the territorial divisions of the department, he said ways must be explored to harness and utilise minerals outside forest areas for revenue earning.

Extracting minerals from outside the forest areas without causing harm to the environment must be prioritised by the department, Sarma said.

During the meeting with the divisional forest officers, he asked them to find out ways to economically empower forest village dwellers through sustainable and environment-friendly methods.

Honey collection and mushroom farming are some of the options through which forest villagers can be financially empowered, he said.

The department must explore possibilities of tie-ups with central agencies for imparting training to the villagers for the purpose, the CM said.

It was also decided that the meeting with the DFOs will be held every six months from now.

Another meeting with DFOs (Wildlife) will also be organised soon, and several key decisions regarding reforms in the department will be taken in the next cabinet meeting, Sarma said.

Environment and Forest Minister Parimal Shuklabaidya, the department’s secretary G D Tripathi and other senior officers were also present at the meeting.