TEZPUR, Nov 21 – Coming down heavily on the “indifferent attitude” of the Congress-led State Government in regard to the settlement of the land problem faced by thousands of Bodo people in many forest areas of Sonitpur district despite the Union Government’s order to provide land pattas to the people of these areas under the FRC Act 2006, Tezpur MP Ram Prasad Sharma said that for the overall development of the region and for strengthening national integration among the tribal communities, their land rights must be ensured.
The parliamentarian, who was addressing a large gathering in the open session of the two-day 41st annual conference of the Missamari Primary Bodo Sahitya Sabha and the 63rd foundation day of the Bodo Sahitya Sabha held from November 15 at Jiabari village along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border area in Sonitpur district, while delving deep into the issue, stated that the right for land is the birthright of the Bodos and other tribal communities as per the Indian Constitution. The areas near Sonai-Rupai where the Bodos live belong to the Balipara Tribal Belt Block and their rights in this regard should never be violated.
Expressing annoyance at the underdevelopment of the area due to the non-implementation of the Panchayati Raj Act following the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the department concerned, Sharma questioned that if people of the area can exercise their voting rights in both the Assembly and the Parliamentary elections, why the same people are not allowed to elect their representatives in the interest of grassroot development?
“This is nothing but discrimination. These people cannot remain mute spectators all along.” He said that he would voice his resentment in the Parliament in the matter for fulfilment of the requirements of the people of the area including basic amenities like health, hygiene, drinking water facility, electrification, road communication, etc.
Attending the programme as the guest of honour, the president of Sonitpur District Tribal Sangha, Nagen Basumatary said that there are about 1.36 lakh bighas of land under the Balipara Tribal Block in Sonitpur district where the tribal people’s right is inalienable. But it is a matter of regret that a section of anti-Bodo people have in recent times termed those living in the area as encroachers, which is a very unfortunate matter.
Earlier, the former president of the Missamari Primary Bodo Sahitya Sabha, Phanidhar Basumatary said that the Bodos are helping the Forest department in saving the greenery of the Sonai-Rupai sanctuary over the years. Had the Bodos and the Adivasis not been there, the Sonai-Rupai sanctuary would have been completely denuded much earlier.
The event, held under the direction of the president of the Missamari Primary Bodo Sahitya Sabha, Sundarshan Narzary, was attended by Hitesh Narzary, Pradip Boro, Prafulla Boro, Paduram Boro, Deputy Manager of Missamari SBI, Damudar Boro, president of Missamari ABSU, Duman Boro, Ranger of Sonai-Rupai sanctuary, Sudarshan Johri, beat officer, Gopal Deka of Missamari ZPC and Rothindra Dey.
Different Bodo Sahitya Sabha units under the Tezpur Bodo Sahitya Sabha also observed the day.