GUWAHATI: The government is taking all efforts to rehabilitate the residents of Laika and Dodhia Forest villages within February. Talking to The Sentinel on Tuesday, Revenue & Disaster Management Minister Jogen Mohan added that the villagers will be settled outside the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
After being displaced by the earthquake of 1950, around 1,480 families belonging to various indigenous communities have been living in these two hamlets. Hence, Laika and Dodhia villages were set up by these people much before the notification on the National Park was issued.
The Dibru-Saikhowa National Park is located in Tinsukia district. The 'Wildlife Protection Act of 1972' prohibits any human settlement within a national park. As a result, residents of these two villages have been deprived of various development activities. What is more, successive State governments did not take any steps to resolve this long-pending rehabilitation issue of the residents of Laika and Dodhia. Demanding rehabilitation, the people of these two Forest villages staged demonstrations in Tinsukia for more than 40 days in the middle part of December.
Minister Mohan further said, "A committee has been already constituted to examine the issue of their rehabilitation. The panel has suggested Namphai and Paharpur in Tinsukia district as the alternative places for rehabilitation of villagers from Laika. Namphai has 166 hectares of land while Paharpur has 72 hectares.
"There are, of course, a few local issues. However, we are hopeful that these problems will be resolved soon; and the Laika villagers will be rehabilitated within this month."
Minister Mohan further stated, "There are plans to shift the Dodhia villagers to a location identified in Lakhimpur district. After inspecting this spot, representatives of Dodhia villagers reported that it is a low-lying area. Hence, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) has been directed to look for an alternative land."
The rehabilitated residents will be provided all facilities from the government's side in the alternative locations, said Minister Mohan. He pointed out, "They will get accommodation as recommended under the 'Prime Minister Awas Yojana-Gramin' (PMAY-G); electricity from APDCL (Assam Power Distribution Company Limited); and water connection from the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department. Honourable Chief Minister has also announced Rs one lakh to each family as grant."