The villagers of Laika and Dodhia in Tinsukia district have been protesting since December seeking rehabilitation of around 1,480 families.

The Takam Mising Parin Kebang (TMPK), the most influential students’ organisation of Mising community, has rejected the state government proposal for the rehabilitation of the people of Laika and Dodhia villages in Lakhimpur and Tinsukia district.

For the rehabilitation of Dodhia, the government has proposed Lakhimpur’s Adhkhona-Adielani area under Harmoti range and for the rehabilitation of Laika, the government has given land at Namphai reserve forest.

TMPK rejected both the offers of the government because the Adhkhona-Adielani area is flood-prone while in Namphai indigenous tribal people have been living for several years.

“The people of Dodhia don’t want to shift to Adhkhona-Adielani area of Lakhimpur because during the rainy season the area is badly hit by the flood. The Laika people don’t want to shift to Namphai area because already indigenous tribal people are living there and if they are rehabilitated there, there might have a conflict between the communities,” said Ajay Doley, assistant secretary of TMPK, Tinsukia district.

He added, “We have rejected both the offer and asked the government to provide land in Oguri, Mamorani, Tinkupani and Pharpur area for the rehabilitation of the people of Laika-Dodhia villages,”.

On December 30, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal constituted a committee to final a logical and everlasting solution for the rehabilitation of the households of Laika and Dodhia villages.

The chief minister asked the environment and forest and revenue department to permanently relocate the families by January 31.

For the last 21 days, the people of Laika and Dodhia villages were protesting at Lezaihola Borguri near Tinsukia deputy commissioner’s office.

“We demand that the rehabilitation process should be started from January 20 and if the government failed to relocate the people then the male protesters of both the villages will go to Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and construct houses inside the park and also start cultivation there,” Doley said.

The two villages which are located inside the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park have been the settlement of families who were displaced by the great earthquake of 1950.

The villagers, who belong to the indigenous Mising tribe, mostly displaced people from Dhemaji and Dibrugarh districts.

They have been residing in the two forest villages for the last 70 years.

However, since the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 prohibits any kind of human settlement within a national park, no development work has been carried out in the two villages.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com