Commission submits interim report on satra land encroachment in Assam

Guwahati, Dec 2: As many as 1889 hectares of satra (Vaishnavite monasteries) land across 11 districts of Assam are under encroachment, the ‘Commission for Review and Assessment of Problems of Satra Lands in Assam’ stated in its interim report.

According to the interim report, submitted by the commission to chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma here on Friday, the highest encroachment of satra land was observed in Barpeta district, followed by Lakhimpur and Nagaon districts.

Moreover, Bongaigaon and Dhubri districts also have satra lands under rampant encroachment, the interim report stated.

The Assam government had constituted the three-member commission in November 2021.

The commission, led by former minister Pradip Hazarika, also comprising MLAs Mrinal Saikia and Rupak Sarma, conducted a detailed survey on the encroachment of satra (Vaishnavite monasteries) land in the state during the year-long period before submitting its findings.

“The commission members visited 62 satras during the year-long period. Besides, during the period, recommendations/suggestions on 303 satras in 11 districts of the state were collected from various sources and it was found that 1889 hectares (about 7504 bighas) of satra land (of the 303 satras) are under encroachment,” chief minister Sarma said.

Describing the first-of-its-kind exercise as elaborate, the chief minister said as many as 46 memorandums were submitted to the commission by various sections of people during the period.

“The state government will review the information and facts mentioned in the interim report by the commission from the administrative point of view and submit the same at the earliest to the respective deputy commissioners. Subsequently, the findings will be compiled along with the DCs and again presented before the commission,” he said.

“However, according to the reconciliation figures (after hearing from all stakeholders), the size of encroached land might increase or decrease. Thereafter, necessary action to clear the encroached lands, as per the laws of the state, be it eviction or other measures, will be taken,” the chief minister said.

Sarma, however, pointed out that the commission members would have to visit more satras and collect more information on land encroached before presenting the final report to the state government.

“At the same time, during this process of preparation of the report, the state government will continue to free satra land from encroachers in accordance with information received,” he said.

The chief minister lauded the sitting MLAs for the time devoted to prepare the report despite their responsibilities as legislators.

“Prior to the exercise, there was no government data or documents for the state government to consider, even as we have looked into allegations by satradhikars. We had to take it up on a case-to-case basis,” he said.

Notably, the commission was constituted following allegations of the Asom Satra Mahasabha and other organisations that large areas of land belonging to the satras were being occupied by encroachers.

 

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