File photo of Assam-Nagaland border area in Mariani.

A board erected by the Ao Students’ Conference of Nagaland inside Assam border near Mariani has been removed on Wednesday.

The board, erected inside the Dissoi Valley reserve forest in Assam along the border with Nagaland, was removed by the Jorhat district administration with the help of police.

Jorhat deputy commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korati said the district administration removed the board on Wednesday after it was reported to the police by a couple of villagers who went to the forest for collecting firewood on Tuesday.

She further said her counterparts in the Mokokchung district administration in Nagaland expressed regret at this move.

It was reported that the board was put up inside the New Sonowal border outpost which is about 14 km within the Assam border.

Divisional forest officer (DFO) Davinder Suman said the report she had received was that the Ao Students’ Conference had removed the board put up by the forest department regarding medicinal trees which had been planted there, and put up their board.

“I have heard that the board has been removed by the district administration with the help of police and BOP personnel,” she said.

The DFO further said she had deputed a ranger to enquire into the matter and verify whether encroachment had taken place, following which the forest department would initiate action.

The Dissoi Valley reserve forest, Dissoi reserve forest and Tiru Hills reserve forest are contiguous forest areas covering parts of Assam and Nagaland near Mariani in Jorhat district.

In the past four decades there have been frequent incursions from Nagaland inside the Assam border and the Jorhat district administration has to destroy huts and other constructions from time to time.

On a couple of occasions, villagers collecting firewood were kidnapped or shot at resulting in economic blockade of the road to Mokokchung, a Nagaland district on the other side.

Mariani MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi has also several times raised the issue in the Assembly asking for proper demarcation and protection of the area along the Assam-Nagaland border.

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: