GUWAHATT, July 31 � �The immigration of landless peasants from East Bengal to the riparian lands of Brahmaputra Valley in different parts of Assam, which started in the last decade of the 19th century, gained momentum during the first four decades of the 20th century. The colonial administration encouraged immigration, because this led to huge utilization of cultivable land and as a result, collection of revenue increased.�
Delivering a lecture on �The Line System of Assam: Implications and Consequences� at the Vivekananda Kendra today, Prof Mohammed Taher dealt with the complex issue through the lens of a social geographer.
In his speech as moderator, Prof Sunil Pawan Baruah, former head, Department of History, B Barooah College, said that the Line System of Assam was such a critical issue that it had to be discussed broadly before formulating any Act related to land policy.
Prof Taher observed that gradually the immigration created conflicts between the indigenous and the migrant population of the area, and finally in 1920, in response to the demand of indigenous people a system known as the �Line System� was introduced in the present-day districts of Barpeta, Morigaon and Nagaon in order to prevent migrants from settling or occupying land, and subsequently the system was extended to other parts of the valley. But the system was not effective as expected.
Prof Taher said that later the steps taken by the Provincial Government (1937) also did not show any positive result due to the lack of sincerity. In October 1939, this issue of Line System was brought to the Assam Legislative Assembly, but failed to get proper attention from the members of the Assembly. As a result, the socio-political situation of the region had already been altered to a large extent by the beginning of the 1940s, he added.
The latest issue of Quest � Dimensions of Freedom Movement was also released on the occasion by Prof SP Baruah. The chairman, DK Barthakur, welcomed the audience while Prof DC Baroowa, director, Research Advisory Council, introduced the guests and informed the gathering about the background to the lecture series on land policy.
The programme ended with a fruitful interactive session.