In a significant decision, the Supreme Court (SC) directed the Assam forest department to pay Rs 1,000 per month against every hectare of encroached forestland in the state. "This amounts to Rs 28 crore per month as fine to the SC," said state forest minister Pradyut Bordoloi.
He pointed out that the eviction drive against encroachers had not been stopped but merely suspended due to the monsoon. Bordoloi also said that the eviction drive would be resumed in a big way in view of the fund crunch being faced by the state.
The government is considering rehabilitation of the oustees outside reserve forest areas. At the same time, it has announced that no small tea growers would be allowed to set up plantations inside reserve forest areas.
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