GUWAHATI: The CCTOA (Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organizations of Assam) has alleged that the State government has conspired to sell lands of tribal blocks and belts by amending the 'Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act-1886'.
In a statement issued to the media on Friday, CCTOA chief coordinator AdityaKhakhlari said, "On October 28, 2020, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma made it public at a meeting at Sadia that the State government would bring amendment to the 'Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act-1886' to let the people of Sadia sell or purchase lands in the Sadia Tribal Belt. This statement reeks of a conspiracy.
"The primary objectives of tribal belts and blocks are to protect the lands of tribal and other protected people from land grabbers. Since 1947, as many as 47 tribal belts and blocks have been created under the 'Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act-1886'. Chapter X of this Act protects the lands of tribal people. These lands have been protected not only for STs (Scheduled Tribes). In fact, under this Act, lands have been protected for ST Plain and ST Hills, SCs (Scheduled Castes), Santhals, Tea Tribes, Koch-Rajbongshis of undivided Goalpara district, the lands of Nepali dairy farmers and others.
"In such a situation, bringing any amendment to the Act to allow selling and purchasing of lands in the tribal belts and blocks is tantamount to making the tribal people landless. This move of the Minister is not acceptable to us.
"The decision to protect the tribal belts and blocks was taken in 1945 to prevent land grabbing by land-hungry Muslims from the erstwhile East Bengal, industrialists, and people who are socially and financially affluent. The development took place after the Assam Tribal League had raised such a demand. In 1947, the then Assam Chief Minister GopinathBardoloi added Chapter X in the 'Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act-1886' to protect the lands of tribal people. After that, the necessity of bringing amendment to the Act didn't arise. Rather the Harishankar Brahma Committee recommended the State government to follow the Act by letter and spirit. If the government amends the Act forcibly, we're going to oppose it vehemently."