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The Assam government has announced Rs 1 lakh to each landless family of Laika and Dodhia villages under Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Tinsukia district even as the high-level committee, constituted a month back, has overshot the January 31 deadline to find out a “logical and permanent” solution for relocation and rehabilitation of 1480 families, primarily from the Mising community, living in the hamlets for about seven decades now.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had announced the financial package while addressing the 38th central general session of All Assam Tribal Sangha at Nellie in Morigaon on Saturday.
However, the villagers camping near the Tinsukia deputy commissioner’s office for the past 42 days, were not impressed by the ‘token gesture’.
“Financial packages and infrastructure development are responsibilities of the authorities, and we believe this (Rs one lakh per family) announcement is just a way of covering up the committee’s failure to find a concrete solution during the month-long period. While we would like to believe what the chief minister says, the intent shown so far by the committee has not allowed us to,” Ajay Doley, assistant secretary of the Tinsukia unit of Takam Mising Porin Kebang (TMPK), said on Sunday.
TMPK is one of three Mising students’ unions leading the protest on behalf of the Laika and Dodhia Rehabilitation Committee.
Of the 1,480 families, 972 are residents of Dodhia and 508 are inhabitants of Laika.
Discussions between the committee members led by state revenue and disaster management minister Jogen Mohan, forest department officials and representatives of the two villages in Tinsukia failed to break the ice even as the villagers of Laika had accepted the proposal of two alternative locations–Paharpur and Namphai–in Tinsukia district.
“But we have objected to the relocation of Dodhia residents at Adarkhana in Lakhimpur district, as it is a flood-prone area. We have demanded to rehabilitate the families on a 470-hectare plot in the Ouguri area of Upper Dehing Reserve Forest. However, the proposal was objected to by the forest department nine months after they submitted it to the authorities at the highest level last year because about 10,000 trees would have to be felled,” Doley said.
The revenue minister, who is a member of the committee, had assured that they hand over land allotment certificates to the Laika villagers as soon as the Centre gave the clearance.
The minister had even assured of incurring an expenditure of Rs 50 crore on infrastructure development, including roads.
(Edited by Ladiangti Rani)