Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma  on Monday raised the bogey of large scale illegal encroachment of Assam’s land, terming it as political and cultural aggression

Sarma’s speech centered on this topic while speaking as the chief guest at a function organized by the State Revenue and Disaster Management department.

Speaking further Sarma said that the present government has undertaken a pro-active policy to recover Satra and government land from the possession of the encroachers.

The minister said that the government practiced the politics of development and the politics of identity along with progress and prosperity and steps being initiated to protecting the identity of the Assamese society as a complete package.

Stating that the identity and cultural heritage of the indigenous people was under grave threat due to their land getting encroached over the decades, he said the incumbent government took necessary measures to free encroached land.

“Our government has undertaken measures to ensure that the Assamese people live a life with pride and dignity and we have thus aimed at providing social equality and economic development,” Sarma stated.

He pointed out that if someone compared the voters’ lists of areas in Barpeta district dating back 40 to 50 years  and the present list of voters of the same areas and try to analyze or carry out research work the grave threat to Assamese society would be clearly visible.

Sarma also said that several satras established by Srimanta Sankardev and Madhabdev and their disciples centuries ago had shifted to different areas in order to get better security.

He further expressed concern over huge areas of government land  measuring 200 to 300 bighas which had been encroached by a single family in many areas across the state.

He said that while touring across Assam he had seen large areas of land being encroached by single families.

“Such actions is leading towards extinction of ancient Assamese civilization and culture and the sanatan dharma, ” he said.

Terming large-scale encroachment of government land over the years as “cultural and political aggression”, Sarma said that the Government undertook measures to prevent such activities and also free Government land thereby practicing a policy of preserving identity of Assamese people and simultaneously carrying out development.

He said that over 13000 bighas of Government land had been freed from encroachment in the past four-and-half years of this government and had been handed over to indigenous landless and SHGs to carry out agricultural activities.

Similarly, sections of encroached satra land too were recovered and handed over to the satras.

Sarma said that the BJP-led Government in the State which came to power in 2016 promising development preserving the identity of the Assamese people, had taken both the issues as the cornerstone of the Government agenda and had worked in this regard.

Sarma said that the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had taken an initiative to distribute land pattas and to one lakh families belonging to indigenous groups and tribes across Assam and several thousand families received the documents last year.

The minister while stating about the difficulties faced by people of not having proper land documents thereby not able to avail government benefits and bank loans said that the large-scale encroachment of land of satras and Government over the years was a big problem.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com