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Encroachment at historical Rangchai Beel in Sivasagar

The competition for land encroachment of historical places is still going on in Sivasagar.

Rangchai Beel

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  13 Feb 2022 7:27 AM GMT


SIVASAGAR: The competition for land encroachment of historical places is still going on in Sivasagar. This time the encroachers have occupied the land of a historic beel and built huge fish farms. This has provoked strong reactions among hundreds of fishermen who have been taxed by the government. It is to be noted that there are many historical monuments and sites of the Ahom era in different parts of the State including the Sivasagar district. In the undivided Sivasagar district there are a total of 555 Ahom monuments and sites. These are associated with the historic Rangchai (Longchai) Beel. In the same way that the Ahom Swargadeoes enjoyed the culture of different ethnic groups from Rang Ghar, so did they enjoy Rangchai (Langchai) Beel fish fair. In the days of the Ahom Swargadeoes, this colourful beel was a remarkable place for fishing. There is a popular belief that some of the Swargadeoes themselves took part in the fishing at this Rangchai (Longchai) Beel.

After the end of the Ahom rule, the East India Company ruled Assam and Sivasagar district, where the common people earned their living by fishing in the Rangchai (Longchai) Beel. Till then fishing in this Rangchai (Longchai) Beel has become a tradition and has been considered as a major source of income for fishermen.

The Rangchai (Longchai) Beel, 8 km away from Sivasagar town, which extends to Desangmukh Gaon Panchayat, Panbecha Gaon Panchayat and Desang Dhaiali Gaon Panchayat, is now under extensive encroachment. It is important to note that a large number of fishermen from Desangmukh, Panbecha, Desang Dhaiali and other gaon panchayats have been engaged in fishing and feeding their families, a major source of livelihood. The administration has also been issuing this beel on a tender basis.

Traditionally, these people, who used to fish in this beel, are now on the verge of losing their earnings due to alleged conspiracy hatched by a Taye-titled businessman of Desangmukh Sumani Gan. This businessman is allegedly building illegal structures around the Rangchai (Longchai) Beel, sacrificing the livelihoods of hundreds of people for the sole purpose of personal gain. The upper part of the historic Rangchai (Longchai) Beel was completely filled up by the businessman and a large fish farm was built on those lands.

The fishermen have already lodged a complaint with the Deputy Commissioner of Sivasagar against the businessman and his son who conspired to evict the fishermen by setting up a fish farm illegally. Simultaneously, the fishermen have also filed a complaint with Sivasagar MLA Akhil Gogoi against the businessman and his son for allegedly occupying the Rangchai (Longchai) Beel.

According to the complaint signed by Jintu Das and Troilukya Das on behalf of the fishermen, which was submitted to the Sivasagar Deputy Commissioner, stated that all those who are currently violating the provisions of the historical Rangchai (Longchai) Beel and encroached the land for business purposes, should be evicted and the boundaries of the beel should be opened for the fishermen. Otherwise, the lives of the fishermen who are engaged in fishing could be endangered.

It is to be noted that a large number of people also have set up fish farms at various places of Rangchai (Longchai) Beel on both sides of Deka-Borbaruah Road. The fishermen have also demanded that there should be an impartial inquiry into whether these lands were in fact government lands or leased to private individuals.

Also Read: Migratory birds killed, two arrested in Sivasagar

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