Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday that the Assam government is working on providing land rights to indigenous people on the basis of self-certification. The self-certification should state that the claimant has lived in the land for the last three centuries, the minister said.
Ownership of land, he said, leads to insecurity in the minds of people, which is taken advantage of by people who do not care about the community. The minister also urged the target beneficiaries to take advantage of the ‘Mission Boundhara 2.0’, which was launched specifically for the purpose.
There is no immediate decision on ‘doubtful cases’ of any land claim through the self-certification process. Information obtained from the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which is yet to be notified, and other such sources will be considered for any decision in such cases, he said.
Speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of the Basundhara 2.0 project, the minister said, “The operation is based on self-identification by the local people, which proves that the claimant has lived on the land for the last three centuries.
“Whenever there is any doubt, the Circle Officer will conduct an enquiry. There should be no haste in solving doubtful cases. These can be solved later also on the basis of NRC and other such documents.”
The first phase of Mission Basundhara was launched last year to find time-bound solutions for several services under the revenue department. It wound up in May of this year, with six million people benefiting from it.
Sarma urged the Revenue department officials to ensure that “regular land encroachers” do not benefit from the Operation and that only genuine people are covered. He said that the central pillar of the second phase is to ensure that the land rights are given to the indigenous people who have lived there for many centuries but are deprived of their ownership for some reasons.
He said that coalfields (river areas) will not be covered under Mission Basundhara 2.0 due to environmental reasons. “There is a big debate that people can be accommodated in the Brahmaputra and other such rivers. So, we are avoiding it now. There will be no evacuation or any solution to the current crisis,” Sarma added.
Due to lack of ownership, such people are denied bank loans, benefits provided by the government etc., as the land is not classified, this leads to encroachment, he added.
Sarma asked the revenue department to settle the land ryot and subordinates by providing annual title renewal as soon as there are no legal hurdles involved in these. Ryot lands are traditionally held by cultivators who farm but do not have ownership rights.
He also asked the local administration and the tax department to cooperate in order to settle the land rights of the villages in the government land.
“The government is working to ensure the land rights of all indigenous people. It may take time, but the process is ongoing. I ask them to take advantage of the operation and present their claims,” he added.
Mission Basundhara is a temporary operation and the government was looking for permanent reforms, especially by removing the role of middleman and making all the services related to the ground, said the minister.
“Collection of land revenue online, e-stamping to register property, and transfer of land during registration are initiatives under this Mission which will continue,” he added.
(Courtesy of PTI)