GUWAHATI, Oct 6 - The Assam government should immediately carry out a thorough land survey and digitise the land records to protect the interests of the indigenous people of the State. This was the view expressed by former Chief Election Commissioner HS Brahma, who headed a committee on protection of land rights of indigenous people of the State.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Brahma pointed out that no thorough land survey was carried out in Assam since 1965, which, according to him, is very unfortunate. He said that immediate steps should be taken to carry out a proper land survey in the State.
Brahma said as per the policy of the Government of India, all land records should be digitised. He revealed that some states of the country, including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, have done well in this regard, but unfortunately Assam and other states of the region are still lagging way behind in this regard.
Due to the failure of the government to carry out land survey and digitise the land records, the indigenous people are facing hardship and this also gives advantage to the land mafia to carry out their clandestine activities. As majority of the indigenous people do not have land pattas, they are deprived of loans from banks and financial institutions, while some students are also deprived of admission in major educational institutions of the country. The educated unemployed youths are also deprived of self employment opportunities because they are unable to mortgage land to obtain loans, he added.
Brahma said that lack of proper land records, including that of government land, gives advantage to encroachers, while a section of politicians and bureaucrats is also taking advantage of the situation to extend help to the encroachers for their personal gains. On the problem of large scale encroachment of forest areas, Brahma said that the concerned officials should be made accountable.
�Why did the officers concerned allow large scale encroachments? It is now difficult to evict the encroachers but the question is how the encroachments were allowed in the first place. The concerned officials must be made accountable,� he added. Similarly, land belonging to other government departments is also encroached and the officials responsible for the protection of the land should also be made accountable.
He also said that all government land, including the forests, should be properly demarcated and steps should be taken to protect the same at any cost.