Bru pact implementation: Amit Shah grants extension in deadline

Agartala: Union Home Minister Amit Shah has in principle approved the proposal of Chief Minister Manik Saha to extend the deadline for implementation of the Bru resettlement pact.

A little over 37,000 internally displaced Bru migrants staying in Tripura’s relief camps for the last 23 years are being permanently resettled in the state. As many as 12 select locations are being identified across the state for resettlement of the Bru refugees.

An official of the state’s revenue department said, “Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha, who is in Delhi on an official tour, met Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday late evening. During the talks, Dr Saha sought some more time for effective implementation of the project and a verbal assurance granting the same was given by the Home Minister.”

In January 2020, the quadripartite pact was signed by the Union government, the governments of Tripura and Mizoram and the Bru migrants aimed to end the 23 years long imbroglio. In the first phase, a survey was conducted to ascertain the total figure of the migrants staying in the six relief camps.

A Rs 600 crore package was sanctioned for the relief works that guarantee monthly ration, pension for a certain period of time and a range of issues pertaining to the life and livelihood of the new Tripura citizens. The project was supposed to be completed by the end of 2022 but strong opposition from the local communities, violent anti-Bru protests and the pandemic slowed the pace of implementation.

“At Tuesday’s meeting where Tripura Chief Secretary JK Sinha was also present, Union Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the progress of the project and made crucial recommendations to speed up the project. After going through all the aspects, the Union Home Minister granted in-principle approval to further extend the deadline,” said the official.

Sources privy to the developments in the Bru rehabilitation pact informed EastMojo that the state government could not afford any delay if the deadline was not extended further. “In several areas, construction work for Bru settlements had only started. Although the monsoon is over and the weather is conducive for construction work, it is near impossible to accomplish the leftover work within the stipulated time frame. The funding from the central government could have stopped had the Centre rejected to offer more time for completion”, the source pointed out.

However, the state government has heaved a sigh of relief as it has got the necessary clearances. The state has already resettled around 60 per cent of the Bru migrants and the process of incorporating the Brus into electoral rolls has also started. More than 5,000 Bru migrants have been issued the Electronic Photo Identity Card, an election commission recognised document for voting.

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