BJP raises pitch for restoring jumbo corridors (India)


Naresh Mitra|, Times of India

Date Published

GUWAHATI: The BJP has raised the pitch for freeing land under various satras (Vaishnavite worship place) from encroachers and restoring elephant corridors across the state.

Among several resolutions taken at the BJP’s two-day executive meeting which concluded on Saturday evening, freeing satra land from encroachers and conserving elephant corridors also figured prominently.

“The meeting thanked the state government for carrying out successful eviction drives against encroachers in Kaziranga and Sipajhar (Darrang district) since it came to power. The meeting decided to ask the government to take steps to free satra land from encroachers. Many plots belonging to satras are now under encroachment and the settlers have to be evicted,” said BJP legislator Bhabesh Kalita.

Freeing satra land from encroachers is one of the electoral promises made by BJP and the meeting has reiterated the commitment it made to people in the run-up to the assembly polls.

Five years ago, the Northeast Policy Institute (NPI) said about 5548 bighas of land belonging to 26 satras were encroached upon by settlers of ‘Bangladeshi origin.’

However, the BJP-led government’s recent eviction drives have led to a controversy with several organisations belonging to the minority community blaming the government for targeting them in the name of eviction. The minority-dominated All India United Democratic Front has also accused the government of failing to rehabilitate the families after eviction.

Kalita said the meeting also suggested the government to conserve elephant corridors and carry out afforestation drives to check human-jumbo conflicts in the state.

“The meeting observed that all elephant corridors should be protected to ensure safe movement of elephants. This would significantly help in mitigating human-animal conflicts. Also, afforestation should be carried out so that forest cover is restored and provide a habitat for jumbos,” he added.

While demonetization and government’s initiatives to promote cashless transaction were in the agenda of the meeting, BJP leaders said preparations for the upcoming panchayat polls also came up.