Excavators, elephants render thousands roofless! (State of Assam, India)


The Sentinel

Date Published

GUWAHATI:  With a clanging excavator taking his abode apart at Nabajyoti Nagar in Guwahati on Friday, Deboram Taid is roofless all of a sudden. He does not know where to stay tonight, not to speak of tomorrow.

“Hailing from Dhakuakhana, known for being one of the most erosion-affected areas in Assam, I had been staying in this house, nay my home, since 1998. Now I’ve no place to take shelter, not even for tonight. They told me to go back to Dhakuakhana. How can I locate my parental plot that has long been gobbled up by the voracious Ranganadi there?” said Taid, while sharing his feelings with this reporter.

Taid said: “I felt my heart broken when I show the clanging excavator breaking my home apart in front of me. I’m crestfallen.”

Taid, a Mising, is not the only one who had to face such a situation in the vicinity of Guwahati on Friday. The eviction drive carried out in the city on Friday rendered more than 4,000 people homeless. 

This is the biggest-ever eviction drive to have carried out in Guwahati by the administration so far. According to the administration, over 500 hectares of the 78.64-sq. km Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary has all along been under the encroachment by over 6,000 illegal settlers. “Over 1,414 illegally-erected houses are seen in as many as 34 locations in the sanctuary,” Forest department sources said. 

Mononjay Doloi, a daily-wage earner, raised his hand with his voter card intact, and said: “How come the government throws us in such a way? We’re voters. We’ve ration cards and all that a citizen is supposed to have. We do get power bills and pay them regularly. Where will I go with my newly-wedded wife?”

Nilanjana Miri, whose house was dismantled with an elephant, said: “We’ve been living here since 1998. How come the government turns an animal lover all of a sudden? Why hadn’t Dispur taken such a step when people started to settle here? Why hasn’t the government been able to take such an action to evict Bangladeshis?”

Aside from the hue and cry, there were slogans ‘Tarun Gogoi zindabad’.

As many as twenty excavators and 30 elephants were pressed into service to dismantle houses, apart from people with hammers in their hands and security personnel wielding their batons.