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Tribal leaders demand restoration of protected land

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  18 March 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Panel for protection of land rights of indigenous people visits Kokrajhar

KOKRAJHAR, March 17: Leaders of various tribal organizations have demanded before the panel for protection of land rights of indigenous people on Thursday during their Kokrajhar visit that all protected tribal land must be restored from the illegal settlers in the State and BTC region under the land and revenue regulation act. They alleged that the Deputy Commissioners and other bureaucrats in the State have been giving loose hands to deal with the illegal settlers in tribal belts and blocks and other protected tribal lands, riverine areas, sar areas, tiol parks and khas land in the State.
The All Assam Tribal Sangha (AATS), Kokrajhar district committee said that the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act,1886 was amended in 1947 by adding chapter-X wherein the creation, protection and administration of Tribal Belts & Blocks have been provided with the objective of safeguarding tribal lands against spontaneous inflow of immigrants in the region. However, it is an open secret that large numbers of ineligible persons have occupied lands accounting to several lakhs of bighas in tribal belts & blocks as per government records in Assam and particularly in BTC area over a period of time.
The president of Kokrajhar district AATS, Mahesh Chandra Brahma and secretary Anil Wary said in BTC itself, as per latest record, over three lakh bighas of land in tribal belts, blocks and tribal sub-plan areas have been illegally encroached upon by outsiders. It was revealed by BTC executive member, Land and Revenue department in a written reply to a question by council member during the BTC summer session held on June 10, 2014 that a total of 3,49,505 bighas, four kathas and eight lessas of land in tribal belts, blocks and sub-plan areas have been encroached illegally, he said.
Brahma said in the SC & ST Welfare Committee Report of Assam Assembly, 1979 it has been instructed that the eviction of encroachers of tribal land and its restoration should be time bound in pursuance of the Chapter-X as amended in AL&RR Act.
Circulars by government of Assam through Revenue & Settlement department have been issued to Deputy Commissioners of concerned districts for effective implementation of the provisions inserted in Chapter X.
He also alleged that the notice regarding the mechanism of administrative failure of government by citing an example that in PIL case No.PIL 53/2012, the State Government and BTC administration stated an oath before Gauhati High Court that they will be taking action by eviction of ineligible encroachers from Ripu Tribal belt & block as given in Court’s order but till date no action has been taken.
Hence, in spite of series of government orders and statement before High Court, the State government has not shown political and administrative willingness and sincerity, thereby failed to implement to protect tribal belts & blocks against illegal encroachments, they said adding-apart from this, it is also to be noted that large chunks of government land, khas land, fringe areas of forest, riverine lands in contagious tribal areas have been encroached upon.
The working president of the Bodoland Jajati Suraksha Mancha, DD rzary said no one from unprotected class of people has right to buy or grab protected tribal lands but this has been happening at the very nose of district administration.
“The abnormal rise of population from certain section of community and ubated immigration from neighboring country has become a major cause of concern as the indigenous people have to face complicated situation due to influx,” he said. .
He also said the Ajmal Foundation has occupied lands of indigenous people in Kokrajhar district and trying to establish Ajmal Foundation and Ajmal College. He also said the local government has also been allocating lands to private parties in BTC which is to be opposed.

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