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Assam CM vows to evict squatters from Kaziranga

| MANOJ ANAND
Published : Oct 14, 2016, 5:13 am IST
Updated : Oct 14, 2016, 5:13 am IST

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on Wednesday that his government was committed towards freeing 700-odd vaishnavite monasteries — satras — of the 16th century from encroachment.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on Wednesday that his government was committed towards freeing 700-odd vaishnavite monasteries — satras — of the 16th century from encroachment.

A week after the state administration evicted encroachers from about 380 bighas of satra land, Mr Sonowal visited Bordowa satra to offer prayer on Wednesday, and later said that “the eviction drive will continue all over the state”.

He said the BJP government, after having successfully evicted encroachers at the monasteries, would “move towards freeing tribal blocks and belts”.

He sought to put the drive as “people’s demand”, which his government was fulfilling in “most transparent manner” with no discrimination on the basis of caste, creed or religion.

Encroachment continues to be a major issue for the government in Assam, with 3,555 sq km of the 27,673 sq km forest area allegedly held captive by encroachers.

The government now intends to set up a land bank after surveying the areas held by it, and then put them to best use.

“There are over 30,000 families in the state that don’t own any land. We plan to provide land to all landless indigenous families,” the CM said, adding that the measure would also help set up industries and other establishments.

He also assured that those evicted from forestland near Kaziranga will be “rehabilitated” as per the government’s “transparent compensation policy”. Accusing Congress of trying to give it a communal colour, the CM cited court orders to justify the eviction drive.