Lisu, Yobin in India

This information on Lisu of India is from Christian strategic points. We may not be thinking ourselves from these angles. I post this with the hope that we will introspect ourselves to grow as followers of Jesus as a tribe.

Source: Joshua Project (accessed: 9 June 2016)

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Lisu, Yobin in India

Prayer Cards

Population

2,800

Christian

99.88%

Evangelical

Unknown

Largest Religion

Christianity(99.88%)

Main Language

Lisu

Progress

Introduction / History

The Lisu people in India are called Yobin.

The Yobin live in Vijoynagar circle (in Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh state, India). In this circle (administrative unit below a district), there are 10 villages where Lisu people live: Dawodi, Hazolo, Pritnagar, Maludi, Gandhigram, Shidikhu, Sichoto, Mibodi, Ngwazakha, and Aguchi. Gandhigram is the largest village; other villages have fewer houses. Now about 100 persons are also residing in a nearby town called Miao, basically for education and businesses.

Access to these villages is limited. The villages are about 100-150 km from the nearest motorable roads, Miao town. People have to walk on foot this distance to purchase necessary items from towns. It takes 4 days of walk on foot! The other alternative route is through cargo flight. It just take an hour to fly into the village. The problem is, you never know when you get flight. You might get it in a week or a month. It depends, due to frequency of flights or weather etc.

Estimates of the Yobin population is about 1000 to 3000 people.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the people live in villages, very few are employed in government offices. The place Yobin live is virtually all rural. People basically live on agricultural products. Rice, potato, maize are staple foods. Cabbage, cauliflower, beans are also cultivated. Each family has paddy field, gardens to plan vegetables or even jhum cultivation for additional food.

Yobin rear cows, buffalos, chicken, pigs for food. Buffalos are much more for farming the paddy fields. Pigs are main meat for festivals and marriages.

The Yobin observe several festivals, mostly Christian Good Friday, harvest, Christmas, New Years. Yobin celebrate Good Friday atleast 1 or 2 days. Harvest is for 2 days in October. Christmas celebrated for 3 days. On Christmas, Lisu Christians from all the villages come together in one village. Marriages are usually done in November and December. That is when harvest is completed, people are free from work, and the weather is dry which makes marriage preparations easier.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Now almost all Yobin claim to be Christians. Some may never come to church, but they do not belong to another religion either.

Arunachal Frontier Highway (AFH)

I heard about this highway two years ago (October 2014) in a news release by MoS Shri Kiren Rijiju. At that time the information available was the road has been approved by the Union Cabinet. And this road will be constructed along the McMahon Line, starting from Tawang and ends in Vijoynagar, covering about 2000 km.

Map courtesy: TribuneIndia

Since then I have not searched much till today. A note that I read yesterday triggered the interest. For the first time I learned the road is called “Frontier Highway” and further I came to know it is specifically called “Arunachal Frontier Highway”. So today in spite of slow internet connection, I decided to explore more about this Highway. The following are new information to me.

· Status: The Defence Ministry has cleared this road with proposed changes. Existing road will be used in Tawang. The actual starting will be Nafra, Lada and Sarli. Home Ministry has cleared too. Now file is with the Cabinet Secretariat (AP Times, 22 May 2016). Meaning, the road is still at the conceptual stage, not implementation level. See map (slightly outdated) for details.

· AFH will intersect two very important roads: East-West Industrial Corridor Highway and BCIM Economic Corridor. Both these roads are still at planning stage.

· This project is monitored by the Ministry of Home Affairs with other ministries coming in to take part different functions. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to prepare a detailed project report and others like Defence Ministry and Ministry of North East Affairs. It seems Shri Kiren Rijiju is the main player in this project.

· The cost is Rs 40,000 crore, the single biggest infrastructure project in the history of India.

· With all the optimistic propaganda, there still some reservations over this highway proposal.

But for us once this road reaches our villages, we will no more be the same for good or worse. What would help is preparation to take advantage of this communication facility. Who can and who will facilitate that?

Further details in Wikipedia.

Namdapha on MV Road

This news report from 2011 provides the Namdapha’s perspectives on the MV Road. Every comment is on animals, trees etc. Not one statement on the people of Vijoynagar Block. Perhaps that is the primary reason our people and Namdapha never met on a common platform.

Source: Telegraph (accessed: 17 May 2016)

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…Rethink on a ‘killer’ route for Namdapha

– An evaluation report from Delhi puts forward suggestions for two tiger reserves…

ROOPAK GOSWAMI
Guwahati, Aug. 8:A central report on Namdapha tiger reserve has said the road from Deban to Vijayanagar running through the middle of the reserve could be a threat as this could be used for wildlife trade.

The management effectiveness evaluation report for the tiger reserve prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority said — though not identified in the tiger conservation plan — the road from Deban to Vijayanagar (85-90 km) could be a major threat.

“The road, which is now maintained by the public works department could be helpful in protection, if managed under the tiger reserve authorities. This, however, could be a major threat to the park as this would be used by the PWD and Arunachal transport corporation to run buses for the villagers in Gandhigram and beyond, who are currently using helicopter services or move on foot,” the report said.

It mentioned about the absence of a checkpost in Gandhigram located on the border of the tiger reserve. A few days ago, police seized tiger skin and a tusk which reportedly were coming from Assam and meant for Myanmar. “This also indicates the possibility that the path even now could be an important wildlife trade route,” the report said.

“The park authorities, though aware of the problem, are forced to see the road as an advantage mostly because of lack of infrastructure and manpower and hope that this would facilitate protection,” it said.

Field director of Namdapha tiger reserve S.J. Jongsam said the road from Deban to Vijaynagar remains open for about 2-3 months in a year and remains blocked because of erosion and other problems.

“The threat is negligible as its remains blocked for majority of the year,”Jongsam toldThe Telegraph.

The 1,985 square km Namdapha tiger reserve is located in eastern Arunachal Pradesh in Changlang district. It was declared a tiger reserve in 1983. The tiger reserve is divided into three ranges — Miao, Namdapha and Gandhigram ranges. Six patrolling/anti-poaching camps are currently available, but all these are on the western part of the tiger reserve. Because of inaccessibility to most of the areas of the tiger reserve it cannot be covered by the patrolparty. The staff on the whole seems to be enthusiastic but most of them have not even received the travelling allowance for quite some time.

“Moreover, there is no mechanism in place to brief the staff on the objectives of the tiger reserve in detail though they are all aware of the importance of protection. There is no incentive/reward given though provisions are there,” the report said.

The area is rich in terms of plants and animals with several endemics and rare species. Fourteen new species of beetles, four species of molluscs, five new species of fishes, three new species of amphibians, including the only Indian Salamander, the Namdapha flying squirrel, leaf deer and black barking deer all indicate the uniqueness of the area.

“The area is under-explored because of the type of forests and terrain as a number of groups of animals and plants especially in the higher reaches are yet to be systematically documented. The status of only a few of the major groups of animals has been done,” the report said, adding that except for the annual census conducted in four zones, a permanent monitoring mechanism for tiger is yet to be in place.

Vijoynagar ALG

Vijoynagar ALG is included in the up gradation plan of the military. I heard that the MV Road constructors are pressured to complete at the earliest for the upgradation work to carry out soon.

Source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=137859 (accessed: 17 May 2016)

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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Defence
12-March-2016 20:16 IST

Upgraded Advanced Landing Grounds at Ziro and Along Inaugurated

The operational capability of the Indian Air Force got a major fillip with the re-launching of two upgraded Advanced Landing Grounds (ALG) at Ziro and Along in Arunachal Pradesh on Saturday.

"The ALGs will further enhance our existing operational capabilities in Eastern Air Command." Air Marshal C Hari Kumar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command said during the inauguration at Ziro ALG.

"The capacity build-up will enable operations by some of our new inductions including the C-130J Super Hercules," he also said.

"Besides enhancing air maintenance capability of the IAF in the region, the new airfield will also facilitate civil air connectivity soon," the Air Marshal also added.

The Air Marshal also inaugurated the ALG at Along on Saturday.

It may be recalled that Vayudoot Airlines once operated from Ziro airfield in the mid-eighties. Subsequently, the IAF has always operated a flying detachment from the ALG at Ziro for air maintenance purposes.

The runway surface at Ziro saw a steady deterioration over a period of time due to lack of maintenance and other issues. Encroachment due to absence of a security wall further added to the declining status of the airfield. There was, however, always a need to connect the beautiful valley of Ziro with rest of the country by air, for tourism as well as other purposes.

The IAF took over the Ziro airfield from AAI in August 2010.

Consequent to the CCS approval in June 2009, the IAF embarked on an ambitious reconstruction plan to upgrade the existing eight ALGs, including infrastructure development at certain airbases in EAC’s area of responsibility.

The ALGs for upgradation include Tuting, Mechuka, Along, Tawang, Ziro, Pasighat, Walong and Vijaynagar in Arunachal Pradesh. The outlay plan for the upgradation of ALGs alone is nearly Rs. 1,000 Crore.

The ALG at Along prior to the upgradation was partly paved, partly grassy, and duly reinforced with perforated steel plates. Besides IAF, which operates all year round, Pawan Hans also operates helicopters from here during non-monsoon periods.

With the inauguration of the ALGs at Ziro and Along, altogether three ALGs have since got upgraded with paved runway surfaces and other facilities such as aprons for ground manouevring, Air Traffic Control tower with associated infrastructure including perimeter road and a security wall.

The new runway surfaces and other infrastructures are being built to the exacting standards for any other modern airfield in the country. Runway length and width, wherever feasible, has been extended and will enable ATR class of fixed wing operations in most of the ALGs.

Earlier, the ALG at Walong was inaugurated in October last year.

The construction works under Chief Construction Engineer (North-East Project), closely monitored by HQ EAC began in 2013, and an Apex Steering Committee (ASC) under the chairmanship of Vice Chief of Air Staff monitors the progress of all the North-Eastern Projects.

Three more ALGs — Mechuka, Pasighat, Tuting – are scheduled to be inaugurated in the next three months. The ALG project at Tawang, which was taken up only in 2014, is ongoing and is expected to be ready by September this year.

The commencement of upgradation of ALG at Vijaynagar, meanwhile, is expected to take much longer as there is no proper road connectivity from Miao to Vijaynagar for carrying materials, machinery and manpower. The issue has been taken up at the appropriate levels by IAF authorities with the Government of Arunachal Pradesh for an early resolution.

TKS//-

Justification for project – Namchik to Vijoynagar

This is the road survey that was carried out from Miao recently. Very interesting the road under PMYGS is still under construction and then another one approved. Difficult to understand how the government system work. Perhaps this project is put on for forest clearance as the description is posted on the Forestclearance.nic.in

Source: Forest Clearance (accessed: 9 May 2016).

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Ministry of Road Transport & Highway (MoRT&H) has decided to implement the two laning of Vijaynagar-Miao-Namchik Road (length: 174km) in the state of Arunachal Pradesh under SARDP-NE Phase ‘B’ on EPC mode.

The project road from Namchik to Vijaynagar is a road that connects Vijaynagar at Myanmar border with the other part of Arunachal Pradesh specially with NH 153 through SH-25. The existing road has generally intermediate lane carriageway from Namchik-Miao .from Miao to M’pen carriageway width is single lane. From M’pen to Gandhigram for around 120km is only accessible by foot road through Namdapha National park. From Gandhigram to Vijaynagar earthen road of single lane exists. In pursuance of the above, Ministry of Road transport and Highways (MoRTH), has entrusted Stanley Consultants Inc., USA in Joint Venture with Xplorer Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd. for the work of carrying out Feasibility Study and Preparation of Detailed Project Report for upgradation of two laning of Vijaynagar-Miao-Namchik Road (length: 174km) in the state of Arunachal Pradesh under SARDP-NE Phase ‘B’ on EPC mode. The effective date of start of Consultancy Services is 15thJanuary 2016.

The Project

The project road is located in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. One end is Namchik at state border with Assam, at km 27 of Miao-Jagun Road. Other end is Vijaynagar, the last habituated area along this section before the international border with Myanmar.

From Miao around 9 km road up to M’pen is easily approachable as single lane BT road exists till this point. After this , the project road passes through the Namdapha Tiger Reserve for 116km in which around 21 km is accessible by four wheeler. From the end of Tiger reserve, Vijaynagar is around 32 km away in which 14 km single lane gravel/BT road exists from Vijaynagr end. Once formed, this road will become lifeline for border town of Vijaynagar. The Project Highway starting from Namchik end passes through Miao, M’Pen, Nibodi, Gandhigram and Ramnagar before being terminated at Vijaynagar.

It is further noted that Vijaynagar is detached from mainland by the National park extending upto international border.

1. The road required to be developed to ensure the existing habitations with better connectivity.

2. The road is required for strategic movement to Vijaynagar a final land point before the Border.

3. Road is required for the established communities enroute within the National Park and beyond till Vijaynagar.

4. The project route exists well within 100km of international border.

5. Any other alternative in-land route to Vijaynagar will however to cut across the National Park as it stretched upto International border.

6. Any alternative route will deprive community/communication further to the villages/ establishments and

7. The project road was built as a formal gravel road and is not functional due to poor upkeep/maintenance during last 2 decades.

Bridge cut down by Wildlife dept, Yobins allege

This cutting down of hanging bridge may be strategic “military act” by the Namdapha Authorities while destroying the Nagodi village. But this has been one of the most inhuman action they have ever done.

I asked the people who constructed. They spent two whole day during rainy days building it because it was impossible for them to cross the river over the 27th Mile. After using it for about a week it has gone into the river.(Note: This track that takes off MV Road from 19th Mile and passing through this bridge has been our traditional track even before the MV Road existed.)

More details in AP Times (10 May 2016)

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MIAO, May 9: Aggrieved over cutting down of the hanging bridge over 27th Nallah along Miao-Vijoynagar road, the Yobin community leaders have demanded the Field Director, Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Miao to rebuild the bridge by May 15.

Alleging that the bridge was destroyed by the Forest and Wildlife Department, the Yobin community leaders in a collective memorandum has stated that the entire people of Vijoynagar Circle including the Govt. employees and general public are astonished and aggrieved over the cutting of the bridge as it is the lifeline to remote Vijoynagar area from Miao.
The memo added that the bridge was hanging till the evening of April 20 and was found cut down in the next morning in the south end, which was witnessed by villagers of Gandhigram. Incidentally on the same day, the Wildlife Department personnel from Miao destroyed the dwelling houses and standing spice plants of Nagodi Village, added the release. Further, the villagers stated that the department had Sign Boards forbidding using the traditional walking tracts that lead to the destroyed bridge. The destruction of the bridge occurred during the fortnight-long arms and ammunition training conducted inside the Namdapha Tiger Reserve from April 18 to 30 by the Forest and Wildlife department, added the release. The movement of all inhabitants of Vijoynagar, Gandhigram and from fringe villages, and entry of all vehicles were prohibited inside the Namdapha Tiger Reserve during the period.
ADC Miao has assured to take up the matter with Field Director, Namdapha Tiger Reserve, informed the release.
The Yobin community leaders who submitted the memorandum are Vijoynagar, ZPM, Yoafu Yobin, Gandhigram ASM, Osini, ASM Dawodi, Ngwayosi Yobin, Yobin Tribe Fundamental Rights Forum, chairman, Tifusa Yobin, All Yobin Student Union, president, Jothisey Yobin, Yobin Youth Association, president, Yolisa Yobin and Miao Lisu-Yobin Welfare Association, Gen Secy, Liahey Ngwazah.

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There were five reactions at AP Times on this piece of news:

1.Nabam Vijay May 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm

I totally agree with above statement made by Arola, the statements made are all true. I am constructing road there. I myself personally has been there. I walked for days to reach gandhigram. Not to tell about the drastic road conditions and what these people are facing there. It is damn tuff!! I am always saddened by their conditions. These people from vijoynagar circle are very hardworking people, they just lacks good exposure and good opportunities. I am not commenting on Nepali or lisu’s , or their rights and wrong , I am just highlighting the mere facts that these people deserves better. The road conditions are the main factor that is lagging them behind as compared to the rest of arunachalees , I emply to do the best of constructing motorable road on my part of contract with really minimum fund sanctioned by the government. There are always wet so to say it is a really marshy place even in the winter. Bottomlines that- these people from vijoynagar circle deserves better focus by the government.

2. Ngwayoja May 10, 2016 at 4:50 pm

hi,arola I appreciate and salute you that you are a real lover of indigenous tribe.

3. arola May 10, 2016 at 9:22 am

Sorry it’s Tongam Rina.

4. arola May 10, 2016 at 9:08 am

The reality of namdapha tiger reserve is :-
1. U won’t find any tiger there.
2. Crore n crores of international funding for this reserve has been sanctioned. Proper audit should be done immediately.
3. The authorities have never done census regarding tiger population of the reserve.
4. The vijoynagar circle comes under this reserve but the indigenous tribe yobins or lisus residing there since time immemorial.
5. This is the only circle in Arunachal where nepali are allowed to participate and contest in panchayat election, otherwise which is meant only for indigenous tribe of Arunachal. I don’t know why they have given special preference. Arunachal Times should enquiry about this kind of unconstitutional act.
6. During late 80s 300 nepali were accommodated with the help of yobins but now they claim themselves as a true master of that place. And which is very unfortunate.
7. Now government must direct the concerned departments to enquire about true (genuine nepali)settlers and fake settlers(after settlement) and to unearth the agreement of settlement between govt of India or govt of arunachal with the settlers(nepali).
8. Now, nepali of this circle are planting cardamom,ginger etc n thereby cutting forests, but the blame is put upon the indigenous tribe I.e. yobin or lisu.
9.without the knowledge of indigenous tribe the area has been sanctioned as tiger reserve and now, the government wants to evict those people whose great grandparents died protecting namdhapa reserve.
10. Government of India must resurvey this reserve. So that no more further conflict arise between the indigenous tribe and the government.
11. Request Arunachal Times to enquire about the nepali settlement and the agreements which were performed earlier between government and the settlers.
12. Request respected Tongan Tina to enquire about voting rights of nepali in our tribal state .

5. Arun May 10, 2016 at 8:27 am

???

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Sad to say the NNP Authorities turned a deaf ear. Here is the response to our request to restore the bridge:

IMG_20160605_095149

 

Sub standard Miao (Nampong) – Vijaynagar road work

Grateful for this highlight on MV Road from Nampong side. We must learn to do the same too.

Source: AP Times (January 16, 2016)

Dear Editor,
We would like to draw kind attention of concerned authority through your esteemed daily about substandard and unsatisfactory work on the Miao (Nampong) – Vijaynagar road sector 103 RCC under 752 BRTF of project UDAYAK in Arunachal Pradesh which is under progress from Nampong end.
The BRO is using local available cheapest RBM in place of specified materials to be procured from the authorized quarry in Tinsukia, Assam in all their PMT/Cement work whereas procurement of standard materials have been tendered in the name of one Sanjay Aggarwal. Without bringing the specified material on site, they are only bringing the duplicate challans/entry papers and using the local river bed materials. This will surely result in a poor quality road in future.
In addition, the village tribal laborers have been expelled from the work on the pretext of their delinquency. In fact, it is not the case. It is thereby, giving a growth impediment in the locality.
Though ongoing work is being supervised by Dhirender Tiwari (Officer-in –charge) A.E. (Civil) and Vinode Kumar, JE (Civ) personally but they are purposefully allowing the substandard quality of materials and misusing the public money.
The innocent people are unable to see through their nefarious design. These ruffians must immediately be removed from the particular site of work. It will be very unfortunate if this evil is allowed to grow unchecked. Thus there is an urgent need of their removal from the project site as early as possible.
Yours,
Remit Morang
Deptoo Mungrey
Agam Mossang
Shamkhul Mossang
Tangsham Mossang
Nongjung Mossang
Rahul Tikhak
Tokhim Mossang

DGBR asked to put emphasis on regular maintenance of border roads in Arunachal

Quite a news to hear the widening road project of the Miao-Vijoynagar Road is given to the BRO. But another matter to learn even the survey work has been stopped from M’pen onwards due to the objection raised by the Namdapha Authority.

Source: AP Times (May 6, 2016)

NEW DELHI, May 5: Chief Minister Kalikho Pul today asked Director General of Border Roads (DGBR) Lt. Gen. Suresh Sharma for taking up of Hayuliang-Glotonglat, widening of Hayuliang-Chaglagam, double laning of Chenguinty-Kibithoo, Tupi-Dadam, Margherita-Khonsa and Miao-Vijaynagar road by the BRO.

For regular repair and maintenance of border roads, the Chief Minister urged for a dedicated plant and machinery to be stationed at regular interval so that in the event of need, quick response is available.

This was necessitated because challenge of maintaining roads in Arunachal were tremendous as presence of large number of rivulets and streams and their increased discharge during rains result in periodical damage to roads, said the CM.

He discouraged use of hume pipes and causeways for bridges as it led to its collapse and disrepair regularly. For that the CM urged for construction of permanent bridges and culverts at every required point.

The Chief Minister further asked the BRO to replace old bailey bridges with the cement concrete one. These old bridges, he pointed out were unable to cart heavy machineries and equipment for fear of collapse.

Also the recurrence of sudden cloud burst and the build-up of water in reservoirs created upstream due to landslides and their sudden discharge necessitates that high-strength bridges are built. PRO to CM

Highway to Vijoynagar

Beginning February this year, there was a team of survey along the MV Road. I saw them several times; the last I saw at TVS near the church.

From the survey team and others told, there will be a National Highway replacing the current construction under PMYGS. It will be a double lane and final report of survey has to be submitted by April end.

But our visit to FD office, Namdapha National Park, I learned the survey was cancelled at the objection of the Field Director.

I am surprised at how Indian law works. If there are several clearance necessary from the Wildlife, why would the National Highway Authority not take their homework?

Strange it may be this is our system enjoys stagnation.

Encroachers evicted from Namdapha Park

Perhaps this is the third eviction against our Lisu community. The first in 1979 at Nibodi village (52 Mile) and in 1984 at Miphoto village (80 Mile). It is not just the eviction that I am concerned but the atrocities and torture the authorities meted against my people. In this particular news report that occurred on the 21 April 2016, following unkind, rather harmful acts were done:

1. MV Road was completely blocked: The Namdapha authorities ordered no pedestrians and vehicles to pass through M’pen Gate (Dated 16th April) and effective from 18 to 30 April. Reason cited as ARMS AND AMONITION TRAINING for their staff. This is inhuman. Our people have to walk home everyday. Road bandh means blocking the lifeline of the whole of Vijoynagar block.

2. Bridge over 27 Mile nallah cut off: This track was in existence prior to the MV Road. This is our lifeline too. Bridge was built by villagers just a week ago. It took them two whole days in extreme rainy days. The river swell high; people cannot cross because of the high tide. The bridge was still intact till 6 pm 20 April. The next day was cut.

The Namdapha authorities can boast of their achievement but they must never forget they have touched the livelihood of several families. See details of the torture… for them its just facts of destruction but for us it is life.

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Source: AP Times, April 26, 2016

ITANAGAR, Apr 25: The officials of Namdapha National Park (NNP) along with police evicted the land encroachers of the Park on April 21.

14 dwelling houses/huts were demolished and cardamom plantation (4ha) and maize (2ha) fields destroyed during the eviction drive at 31 Mile Section of the MV Road.

The occupants were reported to be from Yobin community of Gandhigram village of Vijoynagar and Miao town.

The team could apprehend only the women (illegal) occupants as the all the male members had fled their homes on seeing the eviction team.

The encroachers will be prosecuted under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The eviction team was led by H Nyorak, Assistant Field Director, NNP.

Before the eviction drive, a notice was served to the encroachers for vacating the lands within 45 days.

The matter of encroachment at 31 Mile was brought to the notice of PCCF (WL&BD) & Chief Wildlife Warden GN Sinha in the first week of April, 2016 by Field Director, Namdapha National Park Dusu Shra.

Sinha had taken the matter very seriously and issued strong directions to the Park authority to remove the encroachers.

Many discussions have been held in past to pursue them to vacate the area. The recent act of fresh encroachment in 31 mile area of the Tiger Reserve by few Yobin people had been an irritant to the wildlife wing of Forest Department.

The management of Namdapha Tiger reserve sought support of all the stakeholders, especially the local fringe villagers in protection and conservation of Park.