The Assam government today said its forest areas along the borders of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram are encroached by the people of the respective states.
Replying to a discussion at the Assembly, state Environment and Forest Minister Atuwa Munda said: "Huge areas of Assam forest have become disputed along the borders of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram after border dispute started with these states."
"Due to this, people of these states have encroached upon forest areas of Assam," he said.
Munda, however, did not mention how much forested area were under encroachment from other states.
"Encroachment of forests also took place by flood- devastated and landless farmers prior to the Forest Conservation Act 1980," he said.
Citing a report by the Forest Survey of India, Munda said the total forest and tree cover of the state had gone up to 29,253 sq km in 2013 from 29,129 sq km in 2005.
The total forest area of Assam also went up to 27,671 sq km in 2013 from 27,645 sq km in 2005, he said.
"Declaration of reserve forest of many forest areas of Assam before the Independence is the main reason for this increase," the minister said, refuting allegation of AIUDF MLA Mazibur Rahman, who initiated the discussion that forest areas in Assam were going down.