Tripura’s BJP-IPFT government has started a survey to identify beneficiaries among Bru migrants who will be settled permanently in the state.
The move comes after the Centre, on January 15, signed an agreement to settle about 37,000 Brus living in relief camps in Tripura within the state, instead of sending them back to Mizoram.
The ethnic Bru or Reang community had fled Mamit, Kolasib and Lunglei districts of Mizoram in 1997 during ethnic clashes. Over 5,000 of them returned in nine phases of repatriation, before the January agreement was signed, offering them a similar rehabilitation package within Tripura.
But the migrant leaders have been complaining about incomplete identification surveys held by Mizoram authorities in the camps so far. Thus, the state has started a new survey, as mandated in the resettlement agreement too.
Kanchanpur Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Abhedananda Baidya told indianexpress.com that the survey had commenced from January 18 to find out the actual number of people living in the transit camps. There are three such camps in his sub-division, while three others are located at Panisagar sub-division, close by.
Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) president Apeto Sawibunga said he was aware of the survey going on in all six Bru camps. A monitoring committee would be formed by the government to oversee the rehabilitation process once the survey is completed, he informed.
According to the agreement, each resettled family will get 0.03 acres (1.5 ganda) of land to build houses, Rs1.5 lakh as housing assistance, Rs 4 lakh as one-time cash benefit for sustenance, Rs 5,000 monthly allowance, and free ration for two years from the date of resettlement.
All cash assistance will be provided through direct beneficiary transfer (DBT), for which the state government will expedite opening bank accounts, issue biometric Aadhaar cards, permanent residence certificates, ST certificates, EPIC cards and include their names in electoral rolls of the state.
Meanwhile, some civil societies, mostly comprising of non-tribals at Kanchanpur, are less than happy about the resettlement package. Nagarik Suraksha Mancha president Ranjit Kumar Nath said they feel Brus were largely responsible for damaging ethnic solidarity in the area since their arrival 23 years ago.
“We aren’t happy with this agreement. We have organised several protests, strikes and mass sit-in-demonstrations on 11-point demands, which include return of Bru migrants to Mizoram. We will continue our agitation till people evicted from their homes by the Bru migrants at Kanchanpur don’t get a similar rehabilitation package,” he said.
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