With the Bru resettlement process in Tripura stuck amid the COVID-19 pandemic, government representatives met Bru migrant leaders recently and promised solutions to a host of immediate crises, including disbursing cash dole in the camps.
Speaking to reporters, Law minister and cabinet spokesperson Ratan Lal Nath said Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Alind Rastogi and other officials met the Brus on July 18 and discussed the proposed sites for settling them.
“A list of 11 locations was prepared for settling 33,000 Bru migrants from 4,900 families in Tripura,” he said.
In January this year, the Centre had signed a quadripartite agreement to resolve the 23-year old Bru displacement crisis in Tripura, and announced that over 33,000 migrants, languishing in six relief camps since October 1997, would be settled in the state.
While there has hardly been any progress in the resettlement process since January, the six relief camps are plagued with more immediate problems.
Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Buno Msha said the cash dole of Rs 5 per day to every adult migrant and Rs 2.5 to each minor, allowed under the central relief package they have been getting for the past 23 years, hasn’t been provided since the pandemic-induced lockdown was imposed four months ago.
“The distribution of cash dole has been delayed for four months with a view to transfer to respective bank accounts through DBT…..taking this into account, the high official meeting….has resolved to distribute the cash dole on the basis of existing distribution system in cash to every head of the family,” Msha said in a joint statement with other Bru organisations.
He also added that Bu migrants are spending a ‘tough time in their camps since nobody is able to earn any money through minor jobs in nearby villages due to lockdown restrictions’.