From a Correspondent
DHUBRI, June 20: Eviction drive a few months ago against the encroachers and new settlers on government land, roads and by-lanes has left no impact on the vendors as they have been running business again by encroaching upon the same place from where they had been evicted. Everything is as usual now, as if it is the duty of district administration to evict and dismantle structures on the encroached land and on the other hand, it is right of the encroachers and new settlers to erect structures again and run businesses thereon. Thus, this vicious circle moves on year after year out under the very nose of district administration which gives little attention towards this vexed problems to make an end by rooting it out.
“In the last five years, at least three eviction drives were carried by the district administration, but there is hardly any change in the encroachment scerio of the town. See the acute encroachment on the both sides of Netaji Subhash Road, (New Market area), Koborstan Road and Station Road (Bou Bazar area) by the vendors selling vegetables,” alleged Sushanta Kar, a social activist of Dhubri town.
However, fact remains that permanent market sheds were constructed just 300 metres away with amenities long back, but no vendor has gone there despite repeated evictions, residents alleged. Director of ture’s Friends, Kulodhar Das and a resident of Gauripur town alleged that there were thousands of hawkers and vendors who had not only encroached upon the pavements of Dhubri town but all the towns, including Gauripur, Bilasipara, Sapatgram and Chapor.
“All these towns have elected civic bodies but they have not addressed the problem of encroachment and rehabilitated the vendors in a proper manner,” Das further alleged. He said cycle-rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, bikes, four-wheelers and trucks all add to the woes of the pedestrians in the absence of pavements and encroached upon rrow roads which often lead to traffic congestion.
In Dhubri town, no place is left to be encroached by the new settlers - be it roads, by lanes, pavements, drains, water channels, khas lands or riverbank. The population has increased from 55,000 to 64,000 according to the 2011 census. According to 2015 data of Dhubri Municipal Board, the population has shot up to one lakh, including a floating population of 20,000 living in 8,875 residential holdings. Of them, 49,000 people are registered voters in 16 wards.
This population does not look numerically large but when one considers the total area of 4.5 square km, the density of population comes second in Assam after gaon district. The town now has hardly any space left to be encroached upon.
Despite the presence of the Dhubri-Gauripur Development Authority, which has been entrusted to implement the master plan in two adjoining towns, it has failed to come up with any plan and project to develop the towns. Dhubri town, which is highly congested, is yet to be planned scientifically. Drains, pavements, roads, by lanes, khas lands, official complexes, public gardens, schools, embankments and riverbank are facing encroachment and officials sitting at the helm of affairs are doing nothing at all.
According to the 2011 census, Dhubri district has a population of 19,48,632. The district ranks 240 among 640 Indian districts in terms of population. The population density is 1,171 per square km and the decadal growth rate was 24.4 per cent, an official source said.
When asked about the encroachment scerio, Dhubri Circle and Settlement Officer R. Sen Deka said that he had just taken charge in the office a few days ago but was well aware of the acute encroachment problems of the town.
“It is on my priority list of works to get the government-encroached land free and make Dhubri town a healthy place to live in. But to do this, I will need co-operation of Dhubri Muncipal Board, Dhubri-Gauripur Development Authority and people as well,” Sen Deka added.