NORTH LAKHIMPUR, Jan 13 - The declaration of new subdivisions in Assam by the State Government has brought more resentment and anger among the public of Bihpuria and Narayanpur in Lakhimpur district than bringing cheers.
The public of Bihpuria and Narayanpur, two towns with urban civic bodies, are having acrimony over the decision by the local MLA to have the subdivision headquarters at Paanbari, a place that lies in the middle point of the two centres.
After the initial euphoria of Bihpuria-Narayanpur getting the much-awaited subdivision status on January 1, people living on the either side of Paanbari soon started pitying each other over the issue of the place of the administrative headquarters. There was initially a cold response to the naming of the subdivision as Bihpuria-Narayanpur instead of Bihpuria only by the government.
Soon this resentment escalated to a full blown public anger as Paanbari was chosen to be the place of subdivision headquarters. Last Thursday, various public organizations like AASU, AJYCP, AAMSU, KMSS, AKRASU, AASA, etc., called a 12-hour Bihpuria bandh in protest against the decision of choosing Paanbari as the subdivision headquarters and naming the subdivision as Bihpuria-Narayanpur.
The protesters blocked all the roads linking Bihpuria from North Lakhimpur, Narayanpur, Badatighat, Dongibeel and Letekupukhuri. They also burnt tyres and effigies of MLA Bhupen Borah on the roads at various places in Bihpuria. The police resorted to lathicharge as the protesters created heated scenes in Bihpuria in which many received injuries.
Later on the night, miscreants numbering around 40 attacked Bihpuria MLA Bhupen Borah and some Congress workers outside the Rajiv Bhawan at Bihpuria with stones and bricks injuring many.
On Friday, the Congress took out a protest march in Bihpuria against that attack and submitted a memorandum to the Superintendent of Police, Lakhimpur to take action against the culprits. The public in Paanbari on the same day also barred traders coming from Bihpuria side to do business in the Narayanpur area in protest against the developments at Bihpuria over the subdivision row.
On Tuesday also the public of Narayanpur prevented the traders coming from Bihpuria side to go to the weekly market at Dhalpur. They said the economy of the Bihpuria region depended heavily on the weekly markets of Shimaluguri, Durpang, Rangati, Dhalpur, Mermukh, Dikrangguri, Mazghat and Bholabori under the Narayanpur Revenue Circle and therefore, they justified Paanbari as the right choice for the subdivision headquarters.
On the other hand, the public on the Bihpuria side argued that since the newly declared Bihpuria-Narayanpur subdivision stretches up to the Laluk mouza, including Bangalmora under Nowboicha LAC and revenue circle, Bihpuria would be the right choice to be the subdivision headquarters.
Amidst all these developments, the subdivision row has turned the western part of Lakhimpur district volatile. Meanwhile, the Lakhimpur district AASU unit has condemned the violence and unrest over the issue. The seven regional units of the AASU in Lakhimpur district have also asked both the sides to resolve the crisis amicably through discussion.
Former Bihpuria MLA Prema Borah also sat for a hunger strike on Sunday demanding setting up of the subdivision headquarters at Bihpuria.
Meanwhile, Lakhimpur Deputy Commissioner Debeswar Malakar has appealed for calm from both the parties to end the impasse. Prominent persons of Bihpuria and Narayanpur have also appealed to both the parties to show restraint and resolve the dispute amicably through negotiations.