Kanchanpur, November 30:

Officials from the district forest office, Kanchanpur, and locals evacuated at least 1,000 households and cleared 1,000 bighas of encroached land in three days. Nearly 350 huts built in a forest area in Krishnapur VDC-1, Banhara, were destroyed today.

“Assistant forest officer Krishna Dutt Bhatta led the team which set our houses on fire without prior notice,” said a local Rana Bahadur Bam.

One Kamala Chand, a mother of a three-day-old child said she was rendered homeless and helpless. Assistant forest officer Bhatta said the huts were destroyed to recover the encroached forest land.

He said all 10,000 hectares of encroached land in the district would be evacuated.

Meanwhile, forest officials arrested four persons, including Karna Bahadur Chand, for obstructing the evacuation drive. Nearly 400 sheds and houses built after encroaching land in the Hariyali community forest in Belkundiya were destroyed yesterday. Twenty-five per cent of the houses were owned by freed Kamaiyas.

Also yesterday, officials destroyed illegal sheds and houses built on 300 bighas of land in Krishnapur 4, Belkundiya, in Kanchanpur. Some 300 unclaimed huts built on the Chure height were also torched.It is not yet clear who built the huts and who their owners are.