GUWAHATI: It is a matter of serious concern that the Assam government does not have any latest database on encroached lands within the State. According to Revenue & Disaster Management Department, such reports have been received only from a few districts and sub divisions till date.
This is despite the fact that the Department's Commissioner & Secretary had directed the DCs (Deputy Commissioners) and the Sub Divisional Officers (Civil) to submit detailed reports in this regard within seven days from August 13, 2020. The move follows Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal's recent directive to the Department for carrying out surveys of such lands under encroachments.
The order also sought the "nature of encroachment" and "the number of encroachers". Moreover, the DCs and SDOs (C) were directed to specifically mention in their reports as to whether the "encroachers are indigenous landless persons with no land at all", "encroachers are indigenous landless persons with some lands but not less than eight bighas", and whether the "encroachers are indigenous persons or others".
Significantly, the order states that such surveys are to be carried out on lands belonging to the xatras (neo-Vaishnavite centres) and other such religious and charitable institutions, as well as archaeological and heritage sites.
The detailed surveys are to be carried out also on encroachments upon all types of government lands including VGRs (Village Grazing Reserves)/ PGRs (Professional Grazing Reserves)/ and wet lands. The VGRs and PGRs are especially identified government land reserved for the grazing of cattle.
However, this order exempts the three hill districts of Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao as well as the four Bodoland Territorial Administrative (now BTR – Bodoland Territorial Region) districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Udalguri, and Baksa.