GUWAHATI, Sept 20 - Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma today alleged that there is a �larger plan� behind the encroachment of government lands in places like Kaziranga and Mayong which is aimed at �demographic destabilisation�.
He also accused the previous Congress government of violating court orders by taking up work on road construction at Bandardubi even after the Gauhati High Court had in 2015 issued orders for eviction of people from the area.
�There is a larger plan of moving towards upper Assam... It is part of a larger conspiracy,� he said while addressing a press conference here. Asked what he meant by a �larger plan�, its intent and its intended beneficiaries, Sarma said it is aimed at creating demographic destabilisation.
�It is for benefit of those who want to win elections by using their (encroachers) vote,� said the minister. He, however, refused to take names when asked about the identity of the people or party who are behind the �larger conspiracy�.
Sarma said that a similar situation exists in Mayong where around 300 families still continue to occupy government land and added that they will also be evicted.
�The Congress party is now saying that on humanitarian ground we should give the concerned people more time to leave the place. I want to ask the Congress leaders what kind of time-frame do they have in mind?... Persuasion cannot be an open ended policy. There has to be a deadline after which the encroachers have to go,� he said.
Sarma added that members of indigenous families in Kaziranga National Park, who faced eviction, had consented to leave after he held discussions with them and promised compensation. �The problem took place due to others who have settled there as part of a larger design,� he said.
The Finance Minister said that following the Gauhati High Court verdict last year, the aggrieved parties had approached the Supreme Court where their Special Leave Petition was dismissed and following it, they again filed a review petition in the Gauhati High Court which was also dismissed. �Even yesterday, they filed a petition in the High Court which was dismissed,� he said.
Sarma added that even after the High Court order of 2015, the then State Government continued to build a road at Bandardubi. �They set up LP school and anganwadi centre there. They even set up a voting centre there... When our government came to power, we stopped work on the road. The people of the State were kept in the dark by the previous government,� he said. �The Congress government was responsible not only for wastage of public funds but also for violation of the court order,� he added.
Sarma said that altogether 331 houses were demolished during yesterday�s eviction at Bandardubi, Palkhowa and Deosurchang. Only around 35 families had land pattas there, he said.
The minister said that as per the Central Government�s land acquisition policy, eligible people will get compensation irrespective of caste, creed and community.
He also castigated KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi on the issue of the eviction and said that Leftist leaders incite the masses but then disappear from the scene of action.