Encroachment of land by Army a serious issue: Assam Speaker

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GUWHATI: Assam Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami Thursday said encroachment of land by the Indian Army was a “serious issue” and the government must deal with it strictly.
Responding to the issue raised by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Atul Bora, Goswami also expressed anger over the Army not handing over the abandoned land to the government.
“Encroachment of land by the Army is a very serious issue. If the Army is taking land, then we must be strict about it,” the speaker said during the Question Hour.
“Our valuable land is being given to the Army. Whenever we want to take back the abandoned land, they deny it. We have respect for the Army, but the encroachment should be stopped,” the speaker said.
Goswami, who represents the Jorhat seat, said that he has stopped the authorities from giving land in his constituency to the Army because of “these issues”.
“The Government of India is serious about encroachment. So, we must also take it seriously. If there is no timely action, then it may be very serious,” he said.
“Because of encroachment of our forests, elephants are coming out of the jungles and creating problems,” he added.
Earlier, Bora claimed massive encroachments had taken place in Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary in the suburbs of Guwahati.
“The Army is also encroaching huge land there. As a speaker, you please tell the Army about this,” he added.
In a separate query by All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MLA Aminul Islam, Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said 134.66 sq km of land in various national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across Assam were under encroachment.
The minister further informed the House that 3,51,292.53 hectares of land in reserved forest had been encroached and the government was working on to clear it.