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6,03,754 bighas of char land grabbed in Assam

AASU, PVM demand survey to find extent of encroachment

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 19: Whether due to negligence or design of previous State governments, in particular a section of officials in the Revenue department, encroachment of land in char areas on the Brahmaputra has increased manifold over the years.

The earlier regime in Dispur also didn’t bother to conduct a survey on the amount of char land encroached upon by people belonging to a particular community in the last several decades.

According to government records, 6,03,754 bighas of char area in 9 districts of Assam were encroached upon in the last several years. Interestingly, except the 9 districts, the government doesn’t have proper data on the matter from other districts. Across the State, there are total 354 char-chaporis on the Brahmaputra.            

Sources said the previous Congress government, in particular, had used the people living on these chars as their vote bank and even extended benefits of different government schemes and programmes to these areas as part of its much-known appeasement policy.

As per government records, 60,839 bighas of char land was encroached upon in Kamrup district, 1,06,000 bighas in Dhemaji, 92,764 bighas in Barpeta, 60,338 bighas in Dhubri, 11,346 bighas in lbari, 7,425 bighas in Sonitpur, 82,151 bighas in Majuli, 1,81,268 bighas in Darrang and 1,625 bighas in Bongaigaon district.

On this issue, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and different other organizations raised their concern and demanded that a survey be conducted on the amount of such land encroached upon in different parts of the State, the number of char-chapori areas remaining and the tiolity of people who have grabbed such land and other relevant issues.

Talking to The Sentinel, AASU president Dipanka Kumar th said, “The Revenue department during the previous governments didn’t accord importance to reforming its ways. Instead of primarily surveying land and houses, the Revenue department officials keep themselves busy with other departmental works. Due to this lack of focus, rampant encroachment of char areas is still taking place right under the nose of the authorities concerned. A survey should also be conducted on people inhabiting these chars and chaporis.”

On the other hand, Prabrajan Virodhi Manch (PVM) convener Upamanyu Hazarika said, “Not just char areas, but tribal belts and blocks in the State too are under large-scale encroachment. Much precious time has already been lost, the State government should now act by realizing the seriousness of this issue and conduct a survey. A judicial commission must also be constituted to go into this issue.”