Guwahati: Despite protests from locals and environmentalists, the Assam Forest Department has given the go-ahead to a power company to install tower lines through Bhairab Reserve Forest in western Assam‘s Bongaigaon district, which is home to the rare golden langur.
Environmentalists have warned that the installation of the tower line through the reserve forest will pose a serious threat to the endangered primate species. According to reports, the company responsible for the project, Starlight, has already cut down several valuable trees in the Bhairab Sanctuary, ignoring the protests of the people.
The company is installing tower lines from Nangalbibra in Meghalaya to Salakati in Assam’s Kokrajhar district.
The forest department has defended its decision, saying that it has taken all necessary precautions to minimize the impact on the environment and wildlife. However, environmentalists and locals remain skeptical.
“The forest department itself cut down the trees in the forest area about four days ago. They have also started cutting the hills with excavators. There are many rare wildlife species in the forest, including the rare golden langur. We are concerned about the adverse impact on wildlife,” said a local resident.
Locals and environmentalists have held protests and rallies to demand that the project be scrapped. They have also appealed to the Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to intervene.
It is worth mentioning that the Kakoijana Reserve Forest is located not far from the Bhairab Reserve Forest. There are many golden langurs in the forest. Several golden monkeys have died of electric shock in the past few months. It is feared that many more could die if the tower line project is completed.
“There are alternative ways to install the tower line without affecting the reserve forest. For example, the high-tension conductive wires could be installed along the fringe of the forest area. However, the forest department has rejected these alternatives,” said a local wildlife activist.
Environmentalists and locals are baffled by the Assam Forest Department’s stubbornness. They believe that the department is under pressure from the Company that is funding the project.
The people of Bongaigaon district are demanding that the government immediately intervene and scrap the tower line project. They are also demanding that the forest department be held accountable for its actions.
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