Agartala: Six months after signing the quadripartite agreement which allowed the internally displaced Bru refugees to settle permanently in Tripura, the process of land identification is yet to be completed due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus.
Speaking with EastMojo, law minister and cabinet spokesperson, Ratan Lal Nath, said that a meeting between the representatives of the Bru inmates and Tripura government was held on July 18 last.
“Tripura chief secretary Manoj Kumar in presence of PCCF Alind Rastogi and revenue secretary Tanusree Debbarma discussed the proposed land for settlement of Brus in state. A total of 3,600 hectares of land in 11 locations have been identified in list one for resettling 4, 900 families comprising 33, 000 people across the state,” Nath said.
Of the total identified lands, six locations– CCRF under Anandabazar, Bikramjoy Para, Nandiram Para, Manu Manpui, Banchiram Pusparam Para and Kuki nala area under North Tripura district.
While two locations— one in Teliamura and Sikari Bari area under Khowai district, West Kalajhari in Amarpur subdivision in Gomati district, one in Dhalai district and the other at Boxanagar in Sepahijala district.
“With the initiatives of the BJP-IPFT government, the 23 year-long pending issue of Bru refugees was solved with the signing of the pact that allowed them to settle down permanently here in Tripura,” he said.
“We decided to solve the problem for once and all after taking charge of the government in March 2018 last. The Centre has sanctioned a Rs 600 crore package to resettle the Brus permanently in Tripura,” Nath said.
After signing the agreement, Union home minister Amit Shah had announced a 40×30 ft area plot to build a house, Rs 4 lakh as fixed deposit, financial aid of Rs 5,000 per month along with free ration supply for the next two years to all the Bru families. To build houses, an amount of Rs 1.5 lakh will also be provided to every family.
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Meanwhile, Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum (MBDPF) general secretary Bruno Msha said that a five-member delegation representing all the Bru inmates groups met with the chief secretary and discussed various issues, including finalization of location.
“We have opposed two locations– Anandapur in Sepahijala district and Sikharibari Khowai, while we have proposed five new locations, including Betlingchhip in North Tripura district,” Msha said.
He also said that the chief secretary assured them to reconsider the matter and finalize the 11 locations at the earliest for re-settlement of the Bru displaced people in the state.
Meanwhile, sources also confirmed that the government would shortly hold a meeting with the two organizations—Nagarik Suraksha Mancha and Mizo Convention who have been opposing the settlement of Brus in Kanchanpur sub-division.
Earlier, on January 17, after signing of the agreement, chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb said Tripura government would take at least six months to resettle the Bru people living in relief camps for the last 23 years in the state.
He also expressed his gratitude towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah for solving the decades-old issue of the Bru people.
They have been languishing in six relief camps in Naisingpara, Ashaparaa, Hezacherra, Kaskau, Khakchangpara and Hamsapara in Kanchanpur and Panisagar subdivisons of Tripura since then.
The Mizoram government had made at least nine attempts to repatriate the Brus since 2009 but they have been refusing to return to the state citing security reasons and insufficient rehabilitation packages offered by the Centre.
The Brus are the second most populous tribe of Tripura after the Tripuris. According to the legend, a Tripuri prince who was once exiled by the king made his way, along with his followers, to the Mayani Thalang area of Lushai hills and founded a state over there.