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Mizoram yet to receive Rs 350 crore from Centre for Bru

 AIZAWL, Sep 18 (PTI): Mizoram government has not yet received Rs 350 crore from the Centre for the proposed repatriation of 4,447 Bru families from six relief camps in Tripura, a senior state Home department official said on Wednesday.

The repatriation process will begin from October one.

The Centre had approved an amount of Rs 350 crore for the repatriation of the Brus during a Joint Monitoring Group meeting, chaired by Special Secretary (internal security), Ministry of Home Affairs, A P Maheswari on September 6 in New Delhi, the official said.

"The approved amount of Rs 350 crore would cover transportation and rehabilitation package expenses, which includes Rs 5,000 per month for each resettled Bru family in Mizoram and free ration for two years," he said.

Mizoram Home secretary Lalbiakzama told PTI that the state government was yet to receive the Rs 350 crore and also the minutes of the meeting of the Joint Monitoring Group (JMG) on Bru repatriation held on September six in which the road map for the ninth and final repatriation process was approved.

"The repatriation can begin with the Rs 65 crore left unspent during the last repatriation effort last year," Lalbiakzama said, adding that the process would be undertaken with the availability of funds.

A meeting of the NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella body of major civil societies and student associations of Mizoram on Wednesday welcomed the proposed repatriation and expressed the wish that all the Brus in the relief camps, who are bona fide residents of Mizoram, would return during the process.

The civil societies, in a press statement, said that the people of Mizoram were welcoming the Brus with open arms.

The repatriated Brus would be resettled in Mizoram's Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei district.

Thousands of Brus fled to Tripura in 1997 in the wake of a communal tension triggered by the killing of a forest guard by militants inside Dampa Tiger Reserve .

The Centre and the governments of Mizoram and Tripura have made multiple attempts to repatriate the Brus to their home state since 2009, but the majority of them stayed back in the relief camps, citing inadequate rehabilitation package.

The government has promised to deposit Rs 4 lakh in the bank account of every repatriated family. It has also assured a sum of Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance, free ration and Rs 5000 for other expenses for two years.

The first attempt to repatriate the Brus in November 2009 had fizzled out following the murder of a Mizo youth at Bungthuam village in Mamit district. The murder had also triggered a fresh wave of exodus.

The Bru community, also called Reangs, is among the 21 scheduled tribes in the country. They are scattered across Assam, Mizoram and Tripura.

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