J.F.M.C. Plantation Centre, Bhairabkunda, R.F.
In an effort for long term conservation amid the gloom of large scale deforestation in Assam specially in violence infested Udalguri district, villagers of six villages on the Assam-Bhutan-Arunachal border at Bhairabkunda joined hands successfully regenerating a stretch of barren sandy forest land. The results of this quiet community initiative done under joint forest management (JFMC) are evident with the regenerated forest expanse of 5500 bigha already emerging as a shelter of wild animals and birds. The 22.24 sq KM Bhairabkunda Reserve Forest (RF) was left without a single tree by the early 1980s due to rampant illegal logging.
Afforestation drive by forest department in association of people of six villages namely-Sonaigaon, Bhairabpur, Goroimari, Sapangaon,No.1 Mazargaon and No.2 Mazargaon started in April 2007 and within five years a spectacular man made forest presently known as Gedsimani Forest(JFMC) has grown up at Sapangaon by converting plot of barren sandy lands measuring 5500 bigha in to a new picturesque forest by planting more than 1400000 (fourteen lakhs,which could be a world record) saplings of various valuable species i.e. khoir, gomari, simul, shisham etc. near Dhansiri river, very close to Bhutan and Arunachal. Wildlife loving people of Assam hope that the place would draw the attention of tourists all over the world, if government developed infrastructure of the area. The regenerated forest land now has rich vegetation and has given shelter to wild animals, birds beside various species of flora. A small river with several canals -a few of those man made runs throughout the forest, providing replenishment for the green cover.
Nature loving office bearers of JFMC, namely Esmail Daimari, Elision Daimari, Lenin Daimari, Bimal Daimari, Purna Daimari, Atul Basumatari, Prenson Daimari, Pilup Daimari, Alfred Daimari, Helena Basumatari and Someswari Daimari believe that with some support from Assam government and Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) the area can be developed as an ideal eco- tourism hub. With rivers criss-crossing the verdant Assam-Bhutan-Arunachal border and the Bhairabkunda Reserve Forest providing some undulating trekking trails, there is a definite scope for promoting tourism. In the year 2003, thirty five numbers of village people formed and registered “Sonaigaon Multipurpose farm”, for cultivation, farming purposes. It had been a historic turn when these people came into contact of Naba Kumar Bordoloi, then Forest Range Officer serving at Bhairabkunda RF. Forest officer Bordoloi convinced members of the farm to proceed with planting of trees under JFMC (Joint Forest Management) scheme.
In 2005 process of documentation, survey etc had been done and proposal was submitted to Ministry of Environment and Forest government of India. Plantation was done during 2007 to 2011. It has been a continous procees when people of the six villages, students, woman etc. had been planting more than 14 lakhs of saplings till now. All the saplings had been well protected by the members. They formed six subcommittees under the central committe. The six sub committees are-1.Goraimari JFMC; 2.Sonaigaon JFMC; 3.Sapangaon JFMC; 4.Bhairabpur JFMC; 5.No.1 Majorgaon JFMC and 6.No.2 Majorgaon JFMC. Its a matter of pleasure that wild animals like elephants, leopards, Mongoose, python, deer, wild boar, various species of snakes etc. A flying snake of paradise species was also seen in the forest last year in 2015. Wild elephants were seen delivering babies in this forest last year bringing a ray of hope in mitigating severe “Man-elephant conflict” in Udalguri district. So far more than 83 people and 35 numbers of wild elephants have lost lives in the district during last five years(2012-2016) because of rapid destruction of forests.The arrival of wild elephants has been a good sign, as they could live peacefully in the forest with plenty of fodder and drinking water.
Courtesy: Contents By Jayanta Kumar Das | as published in Assam Times(Community Newspaper)
Images: Taken by District Administration, Udalguri