GUWAHATI: At the time of the launch of Mission Basundhara 2.0 on November 14, 2022, the State Government stressed that the land settlement process would be indigenous people-friendly. But a large number of applications for settlement of land submitted by indigenous people, many of them from Guwahati city, were rejected for various reasons during scrutiny. This raises the question: is the process really going to benefit indigenous people?
Mission Basundhara 2.0 was launched in the State by the Revenue and Disaster Management Department, so that people already in possession of government, khas, ceiling surplus, etc., land would have an opportunity to get that land settled in their names. According to available information, as many as 13,39,598 applications for land settlement were submitted under Mission Basundhara 2.0. Out of this, as many as 7,69,682 applications had been rejected till September 22, 2023. Till that date, a total of 5,69,916 applications were under processing.
Many of the 7.70 lakh rejected applications are from Guwahati. They have been living here for generations, but, according to Mission Basundhara 2.0 norms, the onus is on the applicant to prove that the land applied for was under their possession on or before June 28, 2001. To prove possession at that time, the applicants had to submit the supporting documents required for the process, like an electricity bill or revenue receipt. Many could not produce such a document after 22 years of issue.
Also, many of the applicants in the city reside in the foothill areas of the many hills in and around the city. During verification, many applications were rejected as the areas were termed landslide-prone by the administration. However, it was subsequently proved that patta land, or land with documents, exists near such land tagged as landslide-prone.
When asked about the rejection of applications by indigenous people during Mission Basundhara 2.0, state Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Jogen Mohan told The Sentinel, “We are trying our best to give land settlement to indigenous people. We have also received information about the rejection of applications in Guwahati. However, if any genuine applicant who believes his application was unjustly rejected approaches us, we will definitely review the decision.”
The government has given the last date for disposing of all applications under Mission Basundhara 2.0 as November 14, 2023.