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Database of Indigenous Landless Families Still a Far Cry

Database of Indigenous Landless Families Still a Far Cry

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  22 Sep 2018 2:35 AM GMT



GUWAHATI, Sept 21: Despite Dispur’s well-meaning attempts to create a detailed database of the indigenous landless families in Assam, till date this important record has not become a reality. As a result, the present government has not been able to resolve issues related to indigenous people’s right to land. The earlier government also failed to prepare such a database.

Way back on November 3, 2015, the Revenue and Disaster Management Department of the State Government issued a notification entitled ‘Village Land Use Plan’ to all the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and SDOs (Civil) to collect the data. In fact, the Department also appended a detailed format to fill up the data right from the grassroots levels of revenue circle, mouza and village. There are at present 33 districts in the State.

The prime reason for non-completion of the project is that the officials concerned have been overburdened with additional work. The DCs remain the overall in-charge of such work while the revenue circle officers actually undertake the work with support from the lat mandals and others at the grassroots.

However, it has often been found that the revenue circle officers have to shoulder additional responsibilities like law and order. Besides for the last three years, these officials had been involved in the preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

It is worth mentioning that a committee appointed by the Assam government in 2017 to suggest measures for the protection of land rights warned that the indigenous communities in the State would be reduced to a “landless class of people” if effective constitutional, legal and administrative measures are not implemented soon.

“Protection of land rights of the indigenous people of Assam is, in fact, inextricably linked to protection of their identity and the solution to the problem of the foreign nationals’ issue gripping Assam over the last seven decades of Independence,” said the report submitted by the committee which is replete with data showing encroachment of land in the State over the past several decades.

The seven-member committee was headed by former Chief Election Commissioner HS Brahma and included retired bureaucrats, lawyers, academics and social activists.

Against this backdrop it remains to be seen as to when such an important database of indigenous landless people in the State gets to see the light of the day.

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