Adopt family planning to reduce poverty, Assam CM tells minority community

GUWAHATI, June 10 : Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has appealed to the minority community to adhere to “decent family planning” in order to control population and alleviate poverty in the state.

“The root cause of poverty and conflicts over land in the state lies in uncontrolled population growth. We cannot allow population to explode and conflicts to arise for want of living space. Hence, we want to work with the minority community against such issues, for which it has to adopt decent family planning norms,” Sarma said, while replying to a query during a media conference here on Thursday.

Of late, a series of eviction drives to remove “illegal” settlers (mainly belonging to the immigrant minority community) from government land and religious sites have been carried out by the state government, which have drawn flak from some organisations.

The chief minister further appealed to the All Assam Minorities Students Union (AAMSU) and the Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) to introspect on population control initiatives and preach the same among the immigrant minority population in the state.

“We are going to take more measures in the coming days to encourage small families among the minority community and are willing to work with AAMSU and AIUDF on the issue. We also seek community support to spread education among Muslim women. I hope the community will respect our stand on this and cooperate,” Sarma said.

The chief minister further warned that lack of living space has led to rampant encroachments, which again has happened because of an increase in population.

“Some political parties and organisations have criticised the eviction drives and sought rehabilitation of those evicted. However, we cannot permit squatters in forest/farm lands or land housing satras and temples. We want to minimise conflicts while making satra and forest lands secure,” he added.

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