The United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) on Thursday staged a three-hour sit-in-demonstration near the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Kokrajhar of Assam demanding allotment of land pattas to tribal and other traditional forest dwellers under the Scheduled Tribe and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
The demonstration was also held at Gossaigaon and Salbari in Baksa district. The demonstration started at 11 am and ended at 2 pm.
Talking to Northeast Now, the president of the UPPL, Urkhao Gwra Brahma said the UPPL had been demanding land pattas to the tribal people who have been living in forest land over the years under Forest Dwellers Act but the government and BTC authority have failed to do.
He said as many as 13,290 inhabitants in forest land under Holtugaon Forest Division in Kokrajhar district with 11,208 tribal and 258 non-tribal people have sought land pattas under forest dwellers act but only 152 families of three villages under the same division have been given land pattas recently.
Similarly, there are 106 forest villages under Kachugaon Forest Division but only three villages have applied for the land pattas, he said, adding that, 1216 families in Chirang district have been given land pattas out of 5,668 total families that included 4,860 tribal and 408 non-tribal families.
Brahma said the government has been delaying systematically while giving land pattas to the forest dwellers.
He also reiterated that the matter was being politicized and certain political parties are taking advantage out of it.
He questioned as to why only 152 families of particular three villages have been given land pattas and why the distribution of land pattas are being delayed abnormally.
Meanwhile, the president and secretary of Kokrajhar district UPPL in their memorandum to the Governor of Assam and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the Scheduled Tribe and other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006 was one of the key pieces in forest legislation which provides significant rights to recognized group of people to own land with patta.
They said throughout Assam thousands of claimants have asked the government to allotment of lands according to the law but the process allotment is still a non-runner in many districts.
They reiterated that the process of allotment of land to recognized forest villages have been being politicized.
They also urged the government to expedite the process of issuing land pattas to ST and other traditional forest dwellers by strengthening the mechanism and ensure that no genuine family is left out from their rights to own lands with pattas in forest as per the established law of the country.
Meanwhile, the ceremonial distribution of certificate of title to the claimants under Forest Rights Act-2006 was held on May 26 at Science College Auditorium hall in Kokrajhar.
A total of 152 forest dwellers including 32 families in Jardanpur No 3, 54 in Jardhanpur , 66 in East Jardanpur and other community interest to 10 societies under Haltugaon division in Kokrajhar district, covering total 975 bhiga two khata and two lessa were ceremonially distributed the certificate of title.
Assam Minister for Social Welfare Pramila Rani Brahma, BTC Executive Member Rajib Brahma attended the programme and distributed the certificates to the beneficiaries.
Kokrajhar Deputy Commissioner Niranjan Baruah, Project Director, DRDA, Kokrjahar Kumar Pranjit Wary, senior forest officials were among those present in the meeting.