GUWAHATI, July 12 � More than 18 lakh bighas of government land in 17 districts of the State are under encroachment, said Revenue Minister Prithibi Majhi in response to a question by Phani Bhushan Choudhury (AGP) in the State Assembly today.
The Minister admitted that the State is facing land crunch as more than three lakh hectares of land had been eroded away, while the population is increasing constantly.
Majhi said that the Government received reports on landless and homeless people from the Deputy Commissioners of 13 districts and there are 1,86,915 landless and 17,690 homeless people in these districts. He said that 11,384 people are living on embankments.
The Minister said that giving land settlement to the landless people is a continuous process and the settlement is given on the basis of land policies of 1886 and 1989. He said that the Government would try its best to prevent fresh encroachments.
Majhi informed the House that 15 bigha of land was allotted to the Tourism Department for the setting up of a Five Star hotel in the Khanapara area of the city. But as the land was allotted to a Government department, no premium was charged.
Meanwhile, Keshab Mahanta (AGP) alleged that meetings of the district land advisory committees were not held regularly. He also demanded immediate steps for the rehabilitation of the flood and erosion affected people.
Atowa Munda (Cong) alleged that a number of tea gardens are encroaching on government land and steps should be taken in this regard.
Bhupen Bora (Cong) demanded steps for the rehabilitation of the erosion-hit people and said that the people affected by devastating floods after release of water by the NEEPCO in 2008 are still living on embankments.