All Assam Tribal Sangha: Relax land rules to make Mission Basundhara tribal & indigenous friendly
GUWAHATI: The tribal and indigenous people of the state have not got the kind of benevolent treatment they expected to receive in Mission Basundhara 2.0. The AATS (All Assam Tribal Sangha) has said that, if the state government does not relax the land rules to make them tribal and indigenous people friendly, it cannot provide land rights to the target beneficiaries.
One of the services under Mission Basundhara 2.0 was giving tribal people rights over up to 50 bighas of land under their possession for generations. The government took the decision to provide land rights to tribal people, who possess such lands for generations. This decision of the government made as many as 22,273 people to apply for land settlement under Mission Basundhara 2.0. However, until the afternoon of November 23, 2023, only 7,872 applicants under this category came out eligible for land settlement, 14,013 applications faced rejections, and 388 applications were under process.
Another important service under Mission Basundhara 2.0 was to provide land rights to the indigenous people of the state, possessing land in PGR (professional grazing reserve) and VGR (village grazing reserves) for a long time. As many as 96,744 people applied for land settlement under this service in Mission Basundhara 2.0. However, until the afternoon of November 23, 2023, the Revenue and Disaster Management Department did not consider even a single application eligible for land rights. The department rejected as many as 96,435 applications under this service. The department is yet to dispose of 309 applications under this service.
Speaking to The Sentinel against this backdrop, AATS Secretary General Aditya Khakhlary said, “The government termed Mission Basundhara 2.0 to be tribal and indigenous people friendly while launching it. However, riding on the existing land rules, the department is rejecting most of the applications for land rights. The tribal people of the state thought of getting rights over lands under their possession for generations. However, the land-rules poured cold water on their hopes. The government needs to relax the existing land rules to make the ‘tribal and indigenous friendly tag‘ true to the term in providing land rights to the target beneficiaries with the launch of Mission Basindhara 3.0. The government has to de-notify the PGR and VGR lands, as these decades-old notifications do not serve their purposes now.”