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At long last, towards a new land policy

Now the onus of salvaging the land being lost by the indigenous people of Assam lies with the new drafting committee and the present dispensation at Dispur. Will they rise to the occasion?

GUWAHATI, June 6: In the vacuum of a modern and pro-indigenous people land law in Assam, the State has been entangled in a time warp insofar as the much-needed land rights of the natives are concerned. The issue assumes greater significance when the rampancy of illegal immigration from Bangladesh is reckoned. Thankfully, Dispur has now decisively moved a step forward by forming a two-member committee for drafting a new land policy so as to render justice to the indigenous people.

Leaving behind the disappointing and frustrating trail of debates and several rounds of talks for the last two years within the government, Dispur on Wednesday formed its much-talked-about committee for drafting a new land policy in the State. The committee has deputy secretaries Mukut Phukan and Dhiraj Soud as its members who have been asked to submit their report by July 31 next. A notification to this effect was published by the Revenue and Disaster Management(s) Department on Wednesday.

The land policy to be drafted by the committee has a basis – the land policy of 1989, the draft land policy of 2016, and the recommendations given by the reports of the committee for protection of land rights of the indigenous people of Assam. From these will be drawn the essence of the new policy.

The question now is how the drafting committee would treat the recommendation made by the committee for protection of land rights of the indigenous people of Assam on non-indigenous Indians procuring land in Assam. The committee for protection of land rights of the indigenous people of Assam has clearly recommended that the non-indigenous people from should be restricted from buying lands in the State. Would the new drafting committee honour the recommendation?

The land policy to be drafted by the committee is subject to further examinations at the higher levels, including the Chief Minister.

Now the onus of salvaging the land being lost by the indigenous people of Assam lies with the new drafting committee and the present dispensation at Dispur. Will they rise to the occasion?

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Ankur Kalita