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Land survey begins at Assam-Nagaland border

By Correspondent

DERGAON, Feb 22 � A day after alleged attempts by some people of Nagaland to occupy land belonging to villagers of Assam in the D-Sector of the Assam-Nagaland border at the Merapani area of Golaghat district yesterday, the process of demarcation of land was started today in the same area by the Golaghat Forest Division under the direction of the district Deputy Commissioner Nitin Khade.

The survey, which is likely to take five days to be completed, is being carried out using the Global Positioning System (GPS). The survey will soon be extended to the Mariani-Dimapur road, which was constructed last year through the inter-State boundary.

During last year�s construction of the road, land belonging to several villagers of Assam had allegedly fell inside the Nagaland side, though they decided against raising a hue and cry over it and chose to adopt a non-confrontationist approach instead. However, following yesterday�s incident, in which Naga villagers allegedly cut down trees to clear areas belonging to villagers of Assam, their concern is now growing.

When the DC�s attention was brought to this controversy, he told this correspondent that it is a joint survey that is being conducted on Assam�s part, and �we are closely monitoring the situation and once the survey is over, the facts about any alleged possession of land, etc, will come to light.�

The ACF of the Golaghat Forest Division, Devinder Suman, also said as much as the same thing. �The survey has just been started and it will take some time to know the facts more clearly,� the ACF, who is also the in-charge of the Jamuguri Forest Range, opined. He said that the joint survey is being conducted with the Border Magistrate, CRPF Sector Commandant, Golaghat District Administration and Divisional Forest Officer, Golaghat.

The local villagers said that today�s survey itself made it amply clear that many bighas of land belonging to Assamese people have already been included inside the Nagaland side of the road. This includes paddy fields and fisheries, etc, belonging to Dilip Chutia, Golak Chutia, Gethua Kachari, Mathura Chutia, Ecadur Chutia, Bodheswar Saikia, Bhuban Saikia, Kabita Chutia, Dangarbhai Sonowal of Indrapur Gaon. As if it was not enough, yesterday, some villagers of Nagaland again tried to occupy land in the Assam side, the affected villagers alleged.

The map prepared at the time of the rehabilitation of these villagers in 1971 also shows that these plots of land are registered in the name of the Assamese people.

The situation in the area is presently stated to be tense but under control. The villagers, however, continue to spend sleepless nights because they have also witnessed NSCN activists moving around in the areas.

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