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Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Tripura: 18 huts gutted by fire at Bru migrants’ relief camp

The police said the blaze was triggered by an electrical short circuit at the camp and a few huts were dismantled for safety.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
November 20, 2021 1:57:34 pm
The fire gutted 18 huts at Hamsapara relief camp in North Tripura’s Panisagar sub-division. (Express Photo)

Eighteen makeshift huts of Bru migrants living at Hamsapara relief camp in North Tripura’s Panisagar sub-division were gutted by a fire Saturday morning, while 11 others were dismantled to prevent the blaze from spreading.

The Tripura Police said the fire was triggered by an electrical short circuit at the camp and a few huts were dismantled for safety. “Teams of the local administration and police are on the spot to verify and collect details of the incident and losses sustained,” the official said.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, Bruno Msha, general secretary of Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Forum (MBDPF), which is the largest reorganisation forum of Bru migrants in the state, said the fire broke out at 8.30 am.

“As per reports received from our MBDPF branch at Hamsapara, a total of 17 houses were fully gutted and 11 houses were dismantled to prevent the fire from spreading. The fire broke out due to electrical issues,” Bruno said. None were injured in the blaze, he said, while reports indicated that government documents of the migrants perished in the fire.

While 32,000 Bru migrants from Mizoram are currently being resettled in 11 locations across Tripura as per a quadripartite agreement between the Government of India, state governments of Tripura, Mizoram and the migrants signed in January last year, many of them still continue to live in the camps as the resettlement sites are being readied.

The fire at Hamsapara relief camp. (Express Photo)

In January last year, the central government announced a package of Rs 600 crore for permanent resettlement of the migrants in these clusters.

Bruno explained that though the state government didn’t provide power connection to these camps, inmates of Hamsapara camp pooled money and obtained an electricity connection. An electric short circuit or other malfunction might have caused the fire, he added.

The displaced Bru came from Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of neighbouring Mizoram, escaping ethnic clashes in 1997. Over 5,000 of them were repatriated in nine phases since 2009, while almost the same number from other areas of Mizoram fled to Tripura due to fresh clashes in the meantime.

In April this year, the first batch of over 400 Bru families left the rehabilitation camp for permanent settlement at two selected places in Tripura.

Meanwhile, migrants at the Hamsapara camp complained that their free ration supplies have been suspended since October 1 this year.

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