TEZPUR, Aug 23 - People living in the northern belt from Orang-Mazbat under BTAD area to Gohpur, including areas under Dhekiajuli, Rangapara, Sootea, Gohpur and Behali in undivided Sonitpur district, have expressed annoyance over the government�s apathetic attitude towards problems that have affected them for many years.
The people are plagued with many problems including pitiable road communication, absence of electricity, drinking water and proper health service, non-provincialisation of schools, non-implementation of Panchayati Raj system, land patta problems, etc.
There are over 3,000 Bodo villages in this belt where people are living without basic amenities for over 50 years.
During a recent visit by this correspondent, people like Madan Basumatary and Akan Narzary among others alleged that despite many government programmes for development of rural areas, proper development in this belt is still a far cry due to the negligence of the authorities and the public representatives.
As per the 2018 record, there are 102 Bodo-medium schools in this belt, including 74 lower primary, 17 upper primary (ME) and 11 high schools, which are still in a venture state.
Due to less enrolment following non-appointment of adequate teachers, some Bodo-medium schools have already shut down. Beside this, 69 Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) centres in this belt under Dhekiajuli and Nadwar education blocks are yet to be upgraded due to official red tape.
Describing the pitiable condition of Bodo-medium schools, Madan Basumatary, a former worker of the All Bodo Students� Union (ABSU), said that one can�t believe how children of the area study in schools having the poorest infrastructure. �When we speak about schools in other developed rural areas having every possible facility, the students feel it is a dream,� he said.
The aggrieved people of the area allege that it is the government�s intention to tactfully shut down Bodo-medium schools in the area, even if it violates the Right to Education Act 2009.
Dissatisfied with the role played by the Bodo Sahitya Sabha, the people said that though the BSS is considered a parent body for the Bodo society and is responsible for communicating such issues to the government, it has totally failed.
Moreover, people of the area have also been struggling for land pattas. Though different governments have given assurances to settle their land patta issues, till date it has remained an unfulfilled commitment.
�The Panchayati Raj system is yet to be introduced in this belt, as a result of which modern and essential facilities like surface communication, safe drinking water, electricity, health care, etc., under different developmental schemes of the government, are yet to reach us,� the villagers said.
The villagers alleged that in September-October 2019, some activists of the Bodoland People�s Front (BPF) collected a huge amount of money from the poor people of Rangapara in the name of conducting a legal fight for land pattas or introduction of the Panchayati Raj system. However, the amount was allegedly misappropriated.
The people hoped that if properly implemented, the recent Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) agreement � signed among the Governments of India and Assam and various Bodo groups � would definitely bring some solutions to these problems.