Flood and erosion by Dingori River
Representational Image

Tinsukia: It is a long wait of 30 years to have a roof above their heads after losing their habitat to flood and erosion, and the struggle of the 24 families continues even after the administration allotted land to them.

The affected families from the indigenous Moran community lost everything to the devastating flood and erosion by the Dangori River, which swept away their homes and agricultural lands in Kordoiguri village in Philobari police station area of Tinsukia district in 1992-93.

Since then, over 100 people from those 24 families have been living in tents on government land, patiently waiting 30 years for their rehabilitation.

After years of struggle, apathy and frustrating wait, the Land Advisory Board of the Tinsukia district on June 15 this year allotted one bigha of land to each of the families in Tengoni Huji village, which is around 20 km away from their original village.

However, this proposed government land was illegally occupied by a local businessman and he had set up a tea garden on it, Doomdooma Circle Officer Rananamay Bhardwaj told PTI.

After allotment of the land to the erosion-hit families, the district administration carried out an eviction drive in the illegal tea garden in July.

On July 22, Bhardwaj, in presence of heavy police deployment, handed over the possession letters to all the 24 families and allowed them to construct their houses on the government land.

The administration, however, did not pay any compensation or money to build their new houses.

On July 30, the local businessman returned to the place with around 40-50 persons, suspected to be labourers from his tea garden, and forcefully evicted all the 24 families, one of the residents said.

“He also threatened us of dire consequences if we return to the land again,” the affected person said.

Following this, all the families erected tents in the compound of Doomdooma Circle Office and have been living there for more than a week now.

“We are demanding immediate arrest of all the culprits and immediate rehabilitation on the same land that the government has given us,” Asom Moran Sabha (AMS) assistant general secretary, Bitupan Moran, said.

Led by AMS and other Moran community groups, the villagers held a protest rally on Monday, when a meeting between the affected families and the district administration took place.

“The businessman was arrested on Monday night. We have requested the villagers to vacate the Circle Office premises and promised to rehabilitate them in the same place after the Independence Day celebrations are over,” Bhardwaj said.

The villagers have expressed their reservation and asked for immediate rehabilitation before ending their agitation from the Circle Office.

Also Read | Re-conceptualising flood: The Assam floods in context

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