Majority of the indigenous people of Assam, including farmers, do not have land patta and that is why they are deprived of benefits of various government schemes, admitted Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. He also expressed the view that the government would have to come out with a strategy involving all the States of the Northeast as well as Bhutan to deal with the problem of floods in Assam.
The Chief Minister said proper land surveys have not been carried out in Assam for a long time and that is why land patta could not be issued to the people. He revealed that according to records available, people of over 17,000 of the 26,000 villages in the State do not have land patta. He said the people of Majuli river island, which is now a district, do not have proper land records despite the fact that the district is inhabited by indigenous people.
Sonowal said as the people do not have land patta, they are deprived of various government schemes and those without patta also find it difficult to obtain loans from banks and financial institutions.
The Chief Minister said that to deal with the problem, the government has started a proper land survey covering the entire State and it is expected that it would be completed within a year. After completion of the land survey, all the records would be computerised and the process of issuing land patta to rightful owners would gather momentum.
Sonowal said the process of issuing land patta has started in parts of the State, but once the survey is completed and all records are computerised, the process would gather momentum. “We are trying our best to expedite the process so that all the indigenous people get their land patta and then they will be able to get full benefits of various government schemes and obtain loans,” he added.
On the issue of floods and erosion, Sonowal expressed the view that the State government alone cannot deal with the problem and the Centre would have to play the major role. He pointed out that the Centre would have to coordinate with all the States of the region and Bhutan to deal with the problem. He pointed out that deforestation in the neighbouring States have led to siltation of the river beds, thereby reducing their water carrying capacity.
An integrated scheme would have to be taken up by the Centre for a permanent solution to the problem, he said, adding, the Centre has already sanctioned money for carrying out a detailed study in this regard.