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State Revenue Department Move for settlement of Government Land only among ‘Sons of Soil’

Drafting of new land policy at last stage

The State Revenue Department is at liberty to separate non-indigenous Indians from indigenous people of the State while giving settlement of government land. In case of settlement of government land in the State, it is Dispur’s prerogative to choose the beneficiaries

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 24: For the Revenue Department currently drafting the new land policy of Assam it is indeed a Herculean task to separate the indigenous people of the State from people of the rest of India on buying land. The major hurdle for the department is that it has to get it done within the parameters of the Constitution of India. However, Dispur is contemplating on limiting ‘settlement of government land among the sons of the soil only’.

The State Revenue Department is almost at the final stage of drafting the new land policy. The drafting committee is going to complete the task entrusted to it by this July 31. The new land policy being drafted is based on the Assam Land Policy, 1989, recommendations of the Committee for Protection of Land Rights of the Indigenous People of Assam headed by former Chief Election Commissioner Hari Shankar Brahma and other Revenue Acts and Rules.

In so far as land rights in the State is concerned, the popular demand is to bar people from rest of India from purchasing lands in Assam. The indigenous people and organizations of the State are apprehensive of losing their rights over land in the State if people from outside the State or non-indigenous Indians are allowed to purchase land in the State.

Even as the officials of the department are indigenous at heart, they can do precious little to ensure land rights in the State exclusively for the sons of the soil as they are drafting the new land policy by staying very much within the parameters of the Constitution of India. According to the Constitution of India, every Indian citizen can buy land in Assam, barring the Sixth Scheduled areas and tribal belts and blocks in the State.

However, the Revenue Department is at liberty to separate non-indigenous Indians from indigenous people of the State while giving settlement of government land. In case of giving settlement of government land in the State, it is Dispur’s prerogative to choose the beneficiaries. If the State government wants, it can bar non-indigenous Indians from getting settlement of government land in Assam. In this case, it will not be tantamount to violate the Constitution of India. It, however, largely depends on the goodwill of the government in the State.

After completion of the drafting of the new land policy on July 31 this year, the department is going to submit it to the Chief Minister for his approval. Of course, the draft has to be approved by the State Cabinet as well.

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