XATRA LAND ENCROACHMENT
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, July 25: In the me of protection and preservation of xatras in Assam, the present BJP government at Dispur led by Sarbanda Sonowal has promised a lot in its Vision Document, but no such concrete actions have so far been reflected on the ground in the two months of its rule. It is widely known that many xatras across the State have been facing rampant land encroachment, which is posing a threat to their very existence.
The issue of encroachment of xatra land was raised in the House by different members on Monday, demanding action against encroachers by the State government. In his reply, State Revenue minister Pallav Lochan Das said the deputy commissioners of the districts concerned have been asked to assess how much land owned by the xatras in their respective districts have so far been encroached upon, and furnish reports on the same to the government at the earliest.
But it has now transpired that authorities of more than 10 districts are still collecting information about how much xatra land have so far been encroached upon, as per their intimation.
Das also said the State government would soon hold a discussion with the xatradhikars on the problems faced by the xatras across the State. The issue of encroachment of xatra land is often being raised by different social and political organizations in the State.
In his answer to the House, the Revenue minister said, “169 bighas of land of 342 xatras are now under encroachment. We have told the DCs and circle officers of the districts where xatras are facing encroachment to take action against the encroachers. We will soon hold a discussion with xatradhikars and chalk out strategies accordingly.”
Assembly Speaker Ranjit Das also expressed his deep concern over rising encroachment of xatra land in different parts of the State, and urged MLAs to ask encroachers to vacate land owned by the xatras.
Earlier, AIUDF MLAs said action should be taken against DCs and circle officers concerned who have failed to stop encroachers or illegal settlers from grabbing xatra land. BJP MLA Bhabesh Kalita said funds provided by the government for the development of xatras are not sufficient and should be increased.
According to the xatra apex body Axom Xatra Mahasabha, there are 910 xatras with more than 7,000 bighas of land under encroachment. However, the State government on Monday informed the House that 169 bighas of land of 342 xatras are now under encroachment.
While the Revenue minister stated in the assembly that the government would hold discussion with the xatradhikaris soon, it would not be fruitful if the Axom Xatra Mahasabha is not included in the discussion.