Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday said encroachment of forest and Xatra lands in the state is caused due to population explosion among the minority community and the state government will take a holistic approach to promote family control.
The state government has recently evicted several settlements and freed about 180 bighas in Sipajhar of Darrang district, 2500 bighas in Hojai district and freed government and forest lands in Sadiya and Karimganj districts.
Darrang has seen a population spike among the minority community in recent times while Hojai, Sadiya and Karimganj already had a sizeable population of the minority community.
“We cannot allow our forest, temple and Xatra lands be encroached. But, I understand that it is due to the high growth of population. So, I would like to work with all the stakeholders to promote family control,” Sarma told in a media interaction at Guwahati held to mark one-month completion of taking charge as Assam CM. He was joined by other ministers of the cabinet and MLAs and Chief Executive Members of the Autonomous Councils.
Sarma said that the state will work with other Muslim bodies such as All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) in order to promote family control. AAMSU was among various other voices including the opposition All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) to seek rehabilitation of those displaced.
Without delving into the rehabilitation talk, Sarma said, “Assam already has policies at place to promote famil control such as preferences in jobs eligibility criteria for gram panchayat elections to those who adopt two-child policies, but we will enforce those along with some other measures.”
He also highlighted, ” The encroachment is not the only problem that will come out of such population explosion. How many people can this government provide with subsidised rice, free education, and various government benefits? Which in turn causes poverty and illiteracy.”