GUWAHATI, Nov 24 - The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has launched a scathing attack on the State government for ignoring a festering wound of the people of Assam � the problem of �tribal land alienation�.
Addressing mediapersons here today, LDP president Prodyut Bora said it does not need one more round of violence for the government to realise that this is a problem that cannot be wished away by putting one�s head in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich.
Bora said there has been a huge loss of life and property due to violence between various communities in the past decade because of the issue of land.
�While many organisations try to give a communal colour to these clashes, the main reason remains land. This is because very often land is the only asset a poor tribal person has. Therefore whenever he is deprived of his land, whether willingly or unwillingly, his entire life is destabilised,� said Bora, pointing out that according to the report published by the Government of Assam�s Institute of Research for Tribal and Scheduled Castes (AIRTSC), �alienation of tribal land, like in the other states of India where the tribal population constitutes a significant percentage, is one of the major problems faced by the tribal communities of Assam.
Bora said that for securing the interests of the tribals, the Congress ministry in Assam headed by Gopinath Bordoloi, took steps for creation of belts and blocks for tribals and backward classes by amending the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act 1886 by adding Chapter X in 1947.
�Altogether 11 belts and 24 blocks were created in Assam till 1964, comprising 3,112 villages, covering an area of 1,18,25,842 bighas. In 1969, the government deconstituted an area of 1,29,202 bighas under the South Kamrup (Guwahati) tribal belt to build the capital city of Dispur. In 1977, additionally three belts and seven blocks comprising 7,20,715 bighas were notified,� Bora said.
Currently there are 14 belts and 31 blocks, comprising an area of 1,24,47,355 bighas or 16,59,647 hectares. �But unfortunately the State government has not been able to protect these tribal belts and blocks from encroachments,� he said.
An article published by Frontline magazine based on a survey, revealed alienation of 79,594 bighas in the tribal belts and blocks. �A fresh survey of the 45 tribal belts and blocks may reveal a far greater figure,� added Bora.
Bora said LDP would take up the issues of Assam�s tribals with seriousness and create 32 community development cells on the pattern of the government�s autonomous and development councils.