Saving our Xattra Land
Encroachment of xattra land in Assam has been going on for quite a few years without the government doing anything about it. There has been no dearth of promises and assurances by the State government, but nothing concrete is visible on the ground. One recalls how the Congress government of Tarun Gogoi had promised several times to vacate such encroachment. Obviously, people were not expecting something to really happen in this regard because the encroachers were generally migrants from Bangladesh for whom the Tarun Gogoi government had a soft corner. This is evident even from the government’s statement of the extent of encroachment. On Monday, the State government informed the Assam Assembly that only 169 bighas of land of 342 xattras had been encroached. This was obviously information available with the State government during the fairly long spell of the Tarun Gogoi regime that the BJP-led government placed before the House on Monday. The information is obviously incorrect because 169 bighas of land belonging to 342 xattras works out roughly to half-a-bigha of land per xattra on an average. It is unlikely that xattras would raise a hue and cry over something like half-a-bigha of land. What seems a far more reliable figure is the claim made by the Axam Xattra Mahasabha: that 910 xattras have lost more than 7,000 bighas of land to encroachers. In any case, now that the Sarbanda Sonowal government is in power, it is reasoble to expect some action in this regard. What is surprising is that no action has begun yet despite a promise in this regard in the Vision Document of the new government.