| Indigenous people from BTAD on their way to receive training in masonry at a construction site. Telegraph picture |
Jorhat, Sept. 25: An NGO has opened an economic front to fight influx. It has started a programme to train indigenous people in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) in masonry to keep outsiders, particularly illegal migrants, out of work and thus out of the area.
“Outsiders have taken over masonry work not only in the BTAD but also elsewhere in the Northeast. Our aim is to create masons from among the people of the region, so that outsiders can be kept away,” Mijink Brahma, secretary of Thulunga, a new NGO, told this correspondent today.
Several construction companies have assured Thulunga of support for the training.
The initiative comes at a time when the anti-foreigners movement is revisiting the state with various organisations, including the AASU, giving a clarion call to agencies and construction companies not to employ suspected illegal migrants.
“Processions and demonstrations are fine to attract attention to the problem, but we must create a situation which doesn’t attract outsiders to our region and we become self-dependent,” Brahma said.
The NGO has started training 55 semi-skilled labourers in Kokrajhar. “We want at least 40 trained masons within a year in the BTAD. Our next plan is to set up such training programmes in other parts of the state and after that in the entire Northeast,” he added.
The NGO has tied up with several construction companies for the training. “We have also engaged two engineers to provide training at construction sites,” Brahma said.
Thulunga, which means motivation in Bodo language, was formed by a few motivated social workers from the BTAD to work towards skill development and education of the people to enable them to attain self-sufficiency. Its 25-odd members are well-trained social activists with experience of working around the world but have roots in the BTAD.
Brahma said Thulunga’s primary objective was to ensure the livelihood of the indigenous people of the region.
Another member of the NGO said the recent BTAD violence had brought to the fore that a large number of youths from Assam migrate to other parts of the country in search of small jobs such as security guards. “We could train the youths and make them professionals in various fields. Instead of going outside the state to get engaged in small jobs, they can easily earn much more staying in Assam. This would also prevent outsiders from getting engaged in various fields,” he said.
Partha Pratim Das, an office-bearer of Manas Mozigendri Ecotourism Society, who attended one of the workshops for training masons in Kokrajhar, said it was the right move. “This could be a long term solution to keep away outsiders, especially illegal migrants, in Assam,” he said.