Thoubal, June 12 2022: Altogether 69 houses built unlawfully within the protected forest areas of Waithou and Usoipokpi were demolished today.
Forest officials, accompanied by a large number of security personnel started the eviction drive at 7 am and seven excavators (JCB and poclain) were pressed into service to demolish the 69 houses.
As the Government officials started demolishing the houses using heavy machinery, some people voluntarily dismantled their own houses.
The eviction drive lasted for five hours.
Thoubal DC A Subhash, Thoubal SP Jogeshchandra Haobijam, Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) L Joykumar and Thoubal DFO Th Lokendro came and oversaw the eviction drive.
Speaking to media persons, CCF L Joykumar said that all the 69 houses targeted in today’s eviction drive were built unlawfully.
Some of the encroachers were in possession of pattas while others did not possess any land ownership document.
Even the pattas issued to some of them were cancelled by the Thoubal DC.
The eviction drive was carried out after clearing all legal issues, the CCF said.
Apart from the 69 houses dismantled today, all other houses built unlawfully within the protected forest areas of Waithou and Usoipokpi would be demolished as per law after completing necessary legal process, he said.
He said that the process of identifying other houses built unlawfully is almost complete.
The CCF then appealed to all the people not to build houses within reserved and protected forest areas regardless of whether they possess pattas or not.
At the end of the eviction drive, Thoubal DFO Th Lokendro told media persons that out of the 69 families whose houses were dismantled today between Usoipokpi and Waithou, 35 cooperated with the Government officials by voluntarily dismantling their houses.
Saying that the eviction drive carried out today was only the beginning, Lokendro informed that similar drives would be carried out in the coming days.
He said that there are more than 180 houses built unlawfully in reserved and protected forest areas.
Informing that similar eviction drives would be carried out at Gwarok Reserved Forest, Thongam Mondum Reserved Forest etc, the DFO appealed to all encroachers to dismantle their houses and other structures voluntarily before it is too late.
Notably, a notice was issued on June 3 asking the encroachers of Waithou Protected Forest to produce genuine land ownership documents.
As the encroachers could not produce genuine documents, the Thoubal DC issued an order on June 9 whereby pattas/Jamabandis given to some of the encroachers were cancelled.
Subsequently, the Thoubal DFO issued another notice asking all the encroachers to vacate the plots they were occupying within Waithou protected forest by 5 pm of June 11 .