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Amchang’s ‘genuinely landless’ cry reaches Dispur

GUWAHATI, May 20: Over 300 out of 680 evicted families at Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary have submitted affidavits to Dispur declaring themselves as “genuinely landless” people and demanding their rehabilitation at the earliest.

The evicted families have submitted affidavits following Dispur’s decision to rehabilitate the genuinely landless evicted families. Sources told The Sentinel that many of 300 families in their affidavits stated that they had become landless in different parts of the State due to natural calamities such as flood and erosion. Some have stated that they have been landless for the last several years.
In January, the State government had decided not to go ahead with the eviction drive at Amchang till the genuinely landless people residing inside the sanctuary were rehabilitated. The government decided to put in place a mechanism to identify the genuine people who have become landless due to reasons such floods, erosion and other natural disasters. The landless people will be rehabilitated after verifying documents that they produce as proof of their present status.

The Gauhati High Court had ordered Dispur to clear Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary from encroachers following a petition filed by Early Birds, an NGO. Dispur has so far carried out eviction drives in two phases. In the first phase on August 25 last year, the administration demolished 283 illegal dwelling houses inside the sanctuary. In the second drive on November 27and 28, the administration demolished a total of 732 illegal structures at Amchang.

In a survey carried out in the middle of 2017, the administration had identified 1,414 illegal settlers at 34 locations inside the sanctuary.
On the other hand, the Assembly Committee of Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which was set up to examine and offer suggestions on how to rehabilitate the evicted people at Amchang wildlife sanctuary, has asked the State government to resurvey the sanctuary’s boundary.

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Ankur Kalita