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Are sons of the soil really going to get their land rights?

At long last, Dispur takes moves for indigenous land rights; land pattas to indigenous people to follow new land policy; DCs to have a major role to play

GUWAHATI, June 8: That a section of the indigenous people of Assam has been landless for various reasons, thus posing a grave threat to their very identity and existence, has been in news for quite a while, but little or nothing at all came to their aid all this while. Fortunately, better late than never, in order to arrest such disastrous development for the sons of the soil, Dispur has now decided to provide land pattas to landless indigenous people and people rendered landless by floods and erosion in the State in sync with the new land policy being drafted.

Following a directive from Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the State Revenue and Disaster Management(s) Department has asked the deputy commissioners to issue land pattas to the indigenous landless people of the State, besides people rendered landless by floods and erosion in rural areas. For several years there has been no issuance of land pattas in the State. In urban areas, the deputy commissioners are not the ones who have been authorized to issue land pattas – in such areas, DCs can only form land advisory committees for the issuance of pattas and send recommendations of the advisory committees to the State Revenue and Disaster Management(s) department. However, in rural areas, DCs can issue land pattas with recommendations from the land advisory committees.

Now the issuance of land pattas to the indigenous people and people rendered landless by flood and erosion in the State depends on DCs, a section of whom has earned disrepute for being unwilling to issue pattas. Will Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s writ on issuance of land pattas run among the DCs this time around? Will the sons of soil be rescued thus? The issue is of the gravest kind, and a government that calls itself pro-indigenous is expected to rise to the occasion to save the natives.

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Ankur Kalita