GUWAHATI: For the first time after a gap of 55 years, the Assam government is undertaking survey of the non-cadastral (non-surveyed) land in Majuli – the largest riverine of the world. The last such survey in Majuli was carried out way back in 1964. After the survey is done and detailed maps (Dagwise) prepared, the State government will commence the process of distribution of pattas to the indigenous people in the riverine island.
Talking to The Sentinel, Majuli Circle Officer Ajit Sarma said, “This has become possible owing to the interest taken by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal who is the MLA of Majuli. It is his vision to have the land surveyed in this riverine island and to provide ownership to the indigenous people here.”
Majuli is home to several indigenous communities who have been dwelling there since ages. The sad part of it is that most of them do not have land pattas. Besides, these erosion-affected people have been settling at various places over the years.
Already two teams of the Directorate of Land Records have begun the surveying work at Ahatguri mouza. Sources informed that three more teams are reaching the island shortly. It is estimated that if the five teams carry on their work regularly, the entire project would take at least six months to be completed.
However taking into consideration the outdoor (field) nature of the work and the approaching monsoon season, the Revenue Department is contemplating of further increasing the number of these surveying teams.
Majuli was formally declared as a district on September 8, 2016 after the BJP-led coalition government came to power in Assam. This first island district of the country was carved out of the northern parts of Jorhat. It is the first carbon-free district of the country, and has rich bio-diversity.
The riverine island is located in the upper reaches of the river Brahmaputra. The island is bounded by the Brahmaputra river in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti — a tributary of the Brahmaputra — joined by the Subansiri River in the north. Majuli was created as a result of periodical natural changes in the course of the river caused by frequent major earthquakes at different times as well as high floods. Existing records show the total land area of Majuli is 472 square kilometers. However according to the Government survey of 1891, the total geographical area of Majuli was nearly 1,256 square kilometers. The riverine island has been prone to large-scale erosion.
The island is known for the diverse culture of the people residing there. The island has been the hub of Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture, initiated around the 15th century by Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva and his disciple Madhavdeva. Many Xatras or monasteries constructed by the saint still survive and represent the colourful Assamese culture.
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