Bru resettlement allays fear of mass encroachment of forest land
The Bru resettlement issue, so far, plagued with growing resentment on the part of some of the local bodies, of late, has raised some serious environmental concerns. Many of the locals felt that if the CCRF forest was encroached—the proposed land to resettle the Brus, there would be a drastic impact of it on the health of river “Deo”.
Deo river, which is a tributary of the river Manu with its source located in the Jampui hills, serve as a source of water for not less than thousands of people. It also, sometimes, act as a livelihood opportunity as people were seen doing fishing, firewood collection and so.
“The most important aspect of the Bru resettlement issue that is being avoided by all—and to some extent by the media is environmental. In the Kanchanpur subdivision, there are five spots selected for the Bru resettlement that include CCRF, Manu-Chailengta RF, Gachirampara Anandabazar and Mangpui. And the problem lies at the encroachment of CCRF”, said one Susanta Bikas Baruah, a local contractor and the General Secretary of Nagarik Suraksha Mancha.
The CCRF(Central Catchment Reserve Forest) is a reserve forest that was grown and preserved to protect the sources of water. The CCRF land was stretched from the Upper side of Anandabazar area up to the foothills of Jampui and it act as a protective layer to the water sources available for the people of Jampui and river Deo.
“The core issue”, Barua maintained, “Is that the due to this CCRF, there is water for the people living in the hills. There are lakes, ponds and other natural water sources which never run out of water due to this CCRF. We are fortunate enough to have ample rainfall and almost the sources never dry up. Similarly, being located beside the river source of Deo, the CCRF forest prevent erosion which passively control sedimentation. Despite the Deo river is smaller in length it will certainly come out as the most healthy river of the state if any such survey is carried out. And, the role played by the CCRF in this regard can not be just ignored”.
The river “Deo”, plays a crucial role in the lives of local farmers as many farmers use the banks of river Deo as a suitable area for the sustenance of their livelihood. One of the local farmers, Rajesh Das said, “I am cultivating in the river banks since I am young. If the river health depletes unforeseen impact of it will fall on the large sect farmers dependent on farming and the river”.
Some of the Mizo leaders also felt that the history of “Bru” refugees had shown us as to how they destructed the resources. “Not less than 9 villages of Kanchanpur Sub-division now has no resources left due to their indiscriminate exploitation. Now, if CCRF is given to them, they will simply ruin the forest cover in the area. And, with this mass deforestation, big environmental issues will surely emerge. They will certenily do shifting cultivation; they will surely start rearing cattle, which are enough to destroy the dense forest cover”, said a Mizo leader.
Susanta Barua also said that as of his knowledge the CCRF land if encroached needed permission from the green tribunal and also require same amount of land afforested at the same time.
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