Guwahati: Over 8.57 lakh encroachers are occupying more than 5,404 sq km of land across Assam, the state assembly was informed on Friday.
Of them, 2.12 lakh are landless people, 1.24 lakh are from the minority community and 31,839 are erosion-hit people.
In a written reply to a query by Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Jogen Mohan said a total of 8,57,060 people are living on government, forest, wetland, Satra and railway lands across the state.
Sharing a table, the minister said these people include at least 2,11,698 landless people, 31,839 erosion-affected, 1,03,422 from the economically weaker section, 68,981 Scheduled Castes, 77,616 Scheduled Tribes, 1,21,089 from the general category and 1,24,150 from the minority community.
The table further termed 1,18,265 people in Charaideo and Dhemaji as encroachers, but did not elaborate on their class, caste or community.
Mohan said these people have encroached more than 40,39,450 bighas (over 5,404 sq km) of land across the state and steps are being taken to clear those.
The encroached area comprises 3,62,102.86 hectares of forest lands, including 16,944.93 hectares of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, he added.
The minister informed the House that of the total encroached lands, over 32,633 bighas (nearly 44 sq km) have been cleared so far.
He also claimed that necessary steps such as issuance of notices were followed as per the Supreme Court directives and existing laws before carrying out the eviction drives.
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“The government is utilising the cleared land for various purposes like water bodies, roads, gas pipelines, offices, railway works, agricultural projects and playgrounds. We are also allotting lands to eligible persons and organisations,” Mohan said.
The cleared lands of the Satras (Vaishnavite monasteries) have been returned to them, while the forest department is taking afforestation works in the encroachment-free jungle locations, he added.
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