GUWAHATI, Jan 28 - Demanding a new land policy in the State to protect the interests of the indigenous people, the tribal bodies of Assam today asked the State government to evict all illegal migrants from the tribal blocks and belts of the State.
Demand was also raised to initiate a survey of the tribal blocks and belts to find out the current status of the protected land, which is witnessing rampant encroachment in the absence of proper implementation of the laws meant for the purpose.
A State-level workshop on implementation of the Chapter X of the Assam Land Revenue (Regulation) Act 1886 and Implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Right) Act, 2006 was organised by the All Assam Tribal Sangha today.
Inaugurating the workshop, Samujjal Bhattacharya, advisor to the All Assam Students� Union, said that right over land was a primary criterion to safeguard the interest and existence of the indigenous people of the State.
�The chronology of land-related decisions in the State suggests that migration has been a major reason affecting policy-making in the State. A new land policy for Assam is a must to ensure the supremacy of the indigenous people, who are facing a threat to their existence,� he said.
Bhattachayya also suggested limiting the power to purchase and sale land in Assam among the indigenous people only, like some other States of the Northeast.
Speaking on the need of proper implementation of the provisions of the Chapter X of the LR Act, Promod Boro, president of the All Bodo Students� Union, said that Chapter X has legally sanctioned the provisions to shield the tribal people by creating tribal belts and blocks, but due to the loopholes and lack of implementation, the protected land is encroached.
�Did the government conduct a proper land survey before granting a huge plot of land to yoga guru Baba Ramdev for his manufacturing units in BTC and also in Balipara?� he questioned. �Necessary steps are not taken to protect the tribal blocks and belts. The land laws in the State must be given more teeth to protect the indigenous people,� he added.
Jiten Bargayary, retired Commissioner to the Government of Assam, described the provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.
Raising the issue of not issuing land pattas to tribal forest dwellers, he said that the people living in close proximity with nature, essentially the forest dwellers since generations have been given some special privileges to protect them from the onslaught of commercial exploitation.
Other demands of the convention included creation of new tribal belts and blocks covering tribal-populated areas and restoring all the lost tribal territories and return it to the rightful owners.