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New Land Policy: Indigenous Land Rights to be Tabled for Discussion

Land Rights

New land policy awaits CM’s nod


GUWAHATI, Aug 5: Drafting of the new land policy to secure land rights of the indigenous people has been completed, and is awaiting the approval of the State Chief Minister. Revenue Department sources informed The Sentinel that “all efforts are on board to ensure that the new land policy comes into effect within 2018”.

The new land policy has assumed significance as the present land policies have been governed by the land policy of 1989. With the change of times and the developments taking place in the socio-economic sector, the need for a new land policy especially to shield the rights of the indigenous people has been underlined.

The primary focus of the ‘New Land Policy 2018’ is to provide the much-needed shield to the rights of the indigenous people with respect to land. It is worth noting that preservation of land rights of the locals has been an integral part of the political plank of the present BJP-AGP-BPF coalition government in the State.

The drafting committee of the new land policy was constituted with two officials of the State Revenue Department. The panel submitted the complete draft of the proposed land policy to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal recently.

The thrust areas of the proposed land policy are land resource management, preservation and conservation of the prevailing land resources for the benefit of the local people. Special focus has been laid on the xatra lands, locations of historical sites and monuments as well as the erosion-affected landless people, among others.

The new land policy has been drafted with vital inputs from four primary earlier sources: Recommendations of the ‘Hari Shankar Brahma committee for protection of land rights of indigenous people of the state of Assam’, the 2016 land policy (draft), the different revenue Acts and rules as well as Land Policy, 1989.

Once the Chief Minister grants his approval, the draft copies will be sent to the various departments soliciting their views. The integrated draft will be finally placed before the Cabinet for due approval.
The Brahma Committee formed in 2017 pointed out that lakhs of native families are landless. The committee also mentioned that in all of Assam, several bighas of government land, including forest land, grazing ground, and others, are under illegal occupation, while lakhs of native people do not have an inch of land. Ninety percent of the native people do not have myadi patta (permanent land settlement), they have either eksonia (annual land settlement) or are occupying government land, it added.