SILCHAR, Aug 13 - Back in 2005-06, the Government initiated erecting fencing along the Indo-Bangla international border across the State as a measure to stop infiltration of Bangladeshi nationals. But, the fencing turned out to be a huge cause of concern for as many as 450 families who are living outside the fence on the Indian territory.
As per the Government statistics, Cachar district has 174 familes in 69 households (39 in Nathanpur, 20 in Mahadebpur, six in Pinnagarh and four in Tukurgram) spread across 36.8 kms border area under Katigorah constituency, who have been living in 'No Man's Land' for years. Despite living in an independent nation, people living on the edge of the international border do not enjoy freedom of movement.
Even as the land swap deal in December, 2015 rekindled fresh hopes of rehabilitation for the dwellers outside the fence in Nathanpur, there has been no fresh development on this as yet. Anil Das, a native of the village said, "We were happy to know about the rehabilitation process. But now everything seems to have fallen flat. We have been invisibly imprisoned."
Following constant efforts from former local MLA Ataur Rahman Majharbhuiya, the State Government preferred Katigorah in Cachar district over Karimganj and Dhubri with an allotment of 89 bighas of land to rehabilitate the families. Pointing fingers at Amar Chand Jain, the local elected representative from the BJP, Majharbhuiya said, "People outside the fence are living in terrible conditions. They have been victims of many psycho-social problems; daughters of the families do not get better grooms for marriage, courtesy the awkward fix. When everything was narrowed down to a plausible solution, what ails the authorities to execute and expedite the rehabilitation move?"
On the other hand, reacting on the situation, Cachar Deputy Commissioner S Vishwanathan who led the team in 2015 to accelerate the rehabilitation process said, "The task of demarcating 10 kathas of land to each family has been completed. The Government has plans to set up a colony with facilities of adequate power supply, pure drinking water and proper education and health services."
Interestingly, admitting that there is a controversy brewing up with regard to allocation of the land for rehabilitation, Vishwanathan said that the problem can be solved only if people outside the fenced area decide to come in. "People therein are demanding financial compensation against their allotted land, which is not in the hands of the administration. However, possession of the allotted land has to be claimed within three years. Any appeal for extension has to be made by the concerned family through appropriate procedures," the Deputy Commissioner maintained.