NEW DELHI, May 4 – In a sensational confirmation of what has been suspected all along, several districts of Assam besides some of the hill States of the North-east have witnessed a significant population increase. Kurung Kumey district of Arunachal Pradesh has recorded a population increase of over 111 per cent – among the highest in the country.
Interestingly, the confirmation of some of the North Eastern States including Assam witnessing population jump did not come from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) but the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. With the spectre of illegal infiltration from Bangladesh hanging over the heads of the North Eastern States, the findings have deep significance for the region.
In a Lok Sabha reply to a question by Satpal Maharaj of the Congress, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that according to provisional population tables based on Census of India 2011, the growth rate of the population in 304 districts in 28 States has been higher than the average population growth rate of the country.
The story that has unfolded in North-east is that despite denials by the Congress-ruled States of the region, some of the districts bordering Bangladesh have witnessed huge increase. What is significant is the finding that the phenomenon has been witnessed in some of the interior districts as well.
As against the all-India growth rate of 17.64 per cent, several districts of Assam have recorded a huge jump in population, though the State’s growth rate was lower (16.93 per cent).
The 13 districts in Assam, which have witnessed a sharp population increase, include Dhubri (24.40%), Morigaon (23.39 %), Goalpara (22.74 %), Nagaon (22.09 %), Hailakandi (21.44 %), Barpeta (21.40 %), Karimganj (20.74 %), Dhemaji (20.30 %), Cachar (20.17 %), Bongaigaon (19.58 %), Darrang (18.95 %), Kamrup (Metropolitan) (18.95 %) and Karbi Anglong (18.69 %).
What is perplexing is that some of the hill States including Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram have witnessed unexplained growth of population. All the affected States have international borders.