JONAI, Sept 22 � Expressing serious concern over encroachment of land in the tribal belts and blocks, the Jonai District Tribal Sangha (JDTS) and several other tribal organisations have blamed the State Government for its lackadaisical attitude in protecting the shrinking tribal belts.
Leaders of various tribal organisations assembled at a meeting convened by the Tribal Sangha at Jonai recently. The leaders lamented that the State Government utterly failed in protecting the tribal belts which had been formed under relevant sections of the law relating to Assam land revenue.
They alleged that the State Government has no clear-cut policy for the protection of tribal people in terms of their land rights and right on administration, language and culture.
Addressing the meet, the secretary of JDTS, Padmeswar Doley said that cases of transferring tribal land to non-tribal people was on the rise in Jonai tribal belt, while several hundred acres of tribal land was occupied by non-bonafide citizens and migrants of doubtful origin with the help of some unscrupulous officials in the State Land Revenue Department.
Citing a number of instances of illegal land possession in the tribal belt by non-tribal and other unprotected communities, Doley alleged that the illegal practice was running under the very nose of the State Land Revenue Department officials.
The leaders of the tribal organisation alleged that instead of implementing Chapter-X of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act, 1886, some politicians and bureaucrats were encouraging unauthorised people to encroach upon land in Jonai tribal belt and thereby betraying the tribal people.
�Some people belonging to non-protected category initially take tribal land on lease and later transfer it in their own names by adopting unfair means. Encroachment of tribal land is posing a great threat to the tribal communities, while the State Government is doing nothing for protection of the tribal belt and block�, alleged the tribal leaders.
The tribal bodies urged the State Government to take prompt and pragmatic steps for immediate enforcement and implementation of the provisions of Chapter-X of Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886, and for appointment of separate circle officer in the tribal belts to deal with the land transfer works.
It may be pertinent to mention here that Jonai sub-division in Dhemaji district is a tribal belt declared by the Government of Assam vide notification No. TAD/Rev/70/50/45 dated March 13, 1951, with a view to protect the economic, social, religious and cultural identity of the indigenous tribal people.
But the very existence of the tribal communities is presently threatened by the unabated occupation of land by other non-protected communities as well as migrants of doubtful origin.