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Politicians, bureaucrats involved: Panel

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, July 26 - A section of politicians and �corrupt bureaucrats� are involved in facilitating transfer of land of indigenous people to outsiders. This was one of the observations made by the Committee for Protection of Land Rights of Indigenous People of Assam. The Committee is also of the view that the State Government should improve the mechanism to secure its boundaries from being encroached by the people from the neighbouring states.

The Committee, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner of India, HS Brahma, in its interim report, pointed out that there has been large scale transfer of agricultural land to non agricultural classes, especially to the trading class. The trading and industrial magnets from Assam and outside had chosen to invest their surplus money by procuring land. These people have started purchasing huge amount of agricultural land from the poor peasants either by offering high price or through direct settlement of allotment from the Government.

�There have been instances where the State Government, in tandem with certain corrupt bureaucrats and political leaders, often by taking advantage of the loopholes in various laws, rules, circulars, etc., managed to facilitate transfer of huge tracts of land contravening the existing laws of the State much to the adverse effect on the indigenous people of Assam,� the report said. The report said that transfer of land has been taking place silently and systematically, much at the behest of the political rulers and corrupt bureaucrats, which is a dangerous combination against public interest.

The Committee observed that such transfer of land is taking place because of the ignorance of the indigenous people of the State. There are also instances where indigenous people, instead of cultivating their crop land, engage illegal migrants from Bangladesh for cultivating their land, first by crop sharing agreement and then by partly handing over possession in lieu of their services. Such indigenous people also often sell their land in connivance of the corrupt land revenue officials. The report further pointed out that such

illegal transfer of land is also going on in the Sixth Schedule areas and Tribal Belts and Blocks. The illegal occupation of Tribal Belt land in Sonapur circle is a shining example of this practice.

The Committee is of the view that the State Government should take immediate steps to stop such transfer of land and the Government should immediately intervene to safeguard land interests of the indigenous people by adopting strong and effective legal measures.

The Committee also expressed concern over the shrinking net land mass of Assam due to various factors, both natural and human activities including political division of Assam, changing courses of the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, which caused heavy erosion, siltation of agricultural land due to recurring floods, encroachment of huge stretches of land by the neighbouring states and most importantly , unabated and organized encroachment of land by illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

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Politicians, bureaucrats involved: Panel

GUWAHATI, July 26 - A section of politicians and �corrupt bureaucrats� are involved in facilitating transfer of land of indigenous people to outsiders. This was one of the observations made by the Committee for Protection of Land Rights of Indigenous People of Assam. The Committee is also of the view that the State Government should improve the mechanism to secure its boundaries from being encroached by the people from the neighbouring states.

The Committee, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner of India, HS Brahma, in its interim report, pointed out that there has been large scale transfer of agricultural land to non agricultural classes, especially to the trading class. The trading and industrial magnets from Assam and outside had chosen to invest their surplus money by procuring land. These people have started purchasing huge amount of agricultural land from the poor peasants either by offering high price or through direct settlement of allotment from the Government.

�There have been instances where the State Government, in tandem with certain corrupt bureaucrats and political leaders, often by taking advantage of the loopholes in various laws, rules, circulars, etc., managed to facilitate transfer of huge tracts of land contravening the existing laws of the State much to the adverse effect on the indigenous people of Assam,� the report said. The report said that transfer of land has been taking place silently and systematically, much at the behest of the political rulers and corrupt bureaucrats, which is a dangerous combination against public interest.

The Committee observed that such transfer of land is taking place because of the ignorance of the indigenous people of the State. There are also instances where indigenous people, instead of cultivating their crop land, engage illegal migrants from Bangladesh for cultivating their land, first by crop sharing agreement and then by partly handing over possession in lieu of their services. Such indigenous people also often sell their land in connivance of the corrupt land revenue officials. The report further pointed out that such

illegal transfer of land is also going on in the Sixth Schedule areas and Tribal Belts and Blocks. The illegal occupation of Tribal Belt land in Sonapur circle is a shining example of this practice.

The Committee is of the view that the State Government should take immediate steps to stop such transfer of land and the Government should immediately intervene to safeguard land interests of the indigenous people by adopting strong and effective legal measures.

The Committee also expressed concern over the shrinking net land mass of Assam due to various factors, both natural and human activities including political division of Assam, changing courses of the river Brahmaputra and its tributaries, which caused heavy erosion, siltation of agricultural land due to recurring floods, encroachment of huge stretches of land by the neighbouring states and most importantly , unabated and organized encroachment of land by illegal migrants from Bangladesh.