Environmentalists and citizens fear
that the largescale cutting of hills
in the surrounding areas of
Guwahati may lead to the extinction of wildlife population in urban
areas. Guwahati has the largest 'urban wildlife' with nearly 590 different surviving species, including 18 mammals. But today, many
species have migrated to other
areas. Cutting of hills has also
led to soil erosion and caused damage to the drainage system of the
city. Despite a ban imposed by
deputy commissioner of the
Kamrup district, illegal hill cutting
still continues unabated.
The same is the state with the forests surrounding Guwahati. Although there are nine reserve forests around the city, today most of them have been depleted. For example, on the south-east part of the city is the Hengrabari reserve forest. The entire forest cover of 600 ha has been reduced to less than 100 ha. Forest department officials admit that there are encroachments inside the reserve forest area despite the government's efforts at eviction. "In 1995, we had evicted about 150 families, but they have come back and reoccupied their place," said a rueful forest department worker.
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