NEW DELHI, Sept 22 - After the eviction drive in and around the Kaziranga National Park, the State government is planing to launch a massive eviction operation to clear the encroachments on land belonging to the sattras.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told the mediapersons that the government is committed to free the land of the sattras from encroachers. �We have already started one such operation in the birth place of Srimanta Sankaradeva,� he said.
�A government is committed to secularism (as mentioned in the Preamble to the Constitution). We have taken the people into confidence and will proceed with the eviction drive,� the Chief Minister said.
�We are very clear about implementing the directions of the High Court irrespective of religion, caste, creed and language. In coming days, encroachers on government land will also be evicted,� Sonowal said referring to the recent eviction drive in Kaziranga National Park.
�It was also one of our election promises that encroachers on tribal belts will be evicted. All over the State, whether be it in the plains or in the hills, wherever there is encroachment, we will evict,� stressed Sonowal.
�The State government is committed to implement the High Court�s orders and the ongoing eviction process will continue,� he said.
Asked about AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal�s reaction in this regard, Sonowal said that all religious communities would be protected but encroachers would be evicted. �There is no truth in Ajmal�s assertion and we are following the High Court�s order with people of Assam as witnesses. Actions are being taken in consultation with the people and the eviction drive will be continued in the future too,� added the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister on Thursday held discussions with officials of the Petroleum and Natural Gas and Heavy Industries Ministries in Delhi regarding the availability of gas in the tea gardens and revival of the two paper mills.
�As you are aware, Assam has 1.35 lakh small tea growers and ABITA has over 900 gardens. The production in these gardens has been hit because of non-availability of gas. The smaller tea gardens have suffered a lot because of this. Even bigger gardens have also suffered due to non-availability of gas as a result of which they have not been able to purchase green leaves from the small tea growers.
�This is a very sensitive situation for the State government and to mitigate this problem, I have talked to the Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister and acting on his suggestion, today we held a discussion with Secretary of Ministry of Petroleum KD Tripathi and Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Oil India Limited (OIL) Utpal Bora, CMD (ONGC) KD Sarraf, Lok Sabha MPs Ramen Deka, Rameswar Teli and Kamakhya Prasad Tassa, among others.
�They briefed us about the situation and we have laid stress on the gas supply to small tea growers so that the tea industry survives in the future,� Sonowal said.
�They informed us that they have undertaken some measures in this regards. We have also briefed them about the current situation of Namrup Fertilizer Limited, Assam Petrochemical Limited, Lakuwa power plant, NEEPCO and gas cracker projects,� said the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, the State government urged the Centre to revive the Nagaon Paper Mill and Cachar Paper Mill, both of which are currently defunct. �We have urged the Centre to revive the two paper mills and ensure that they will turn into profitable ventures,� he said.
Union Minister for Heavy Industries Anand Gete also assured the Chief Minister that the Centre has drafted a proposal of Rs 800 crore for revival of the two paper mills.
�Secretary of Heavy Industries Girish Shankar has assured us that they will also take measures to help the bamboo growers to strengthen the rural economy,� said the Chief Minister. State Industries Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary also accompanied the Chief Minister.