Kokrajhar, Sept. 28: Some victims of the BTAD riots have alleged that rehabilitation measures are just on paper and no relief has percolated down to them.
Sabita Narzary of Matupara village in Kokrajhar district stood beside the remains of what had once been her home before it was torched on July 24 during the riots in lower Assam. She is not sure whether she can build it again.
Hers is one of the 11 houses that were set ablaze during the riots in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts. The villagers, who took shelter in the relief camp at Gendrabil village in Kokrajhar, were sent back to the village last week.
Sabita is lucky that she at least has a roof as only one of her two houses were damaged, unlike Swmla Narzary whose house were burnt completely. Swmla and his wife are now staying at his in-laws place in a neighbouring village.
Seva Bharati, an NGO, has provided a bundle of tin sheets each to Swmla and three others families in the village whose houses were completely damaged. But with no money to buy other materials needed to build a house, Swmla is not sure whether he can rebuild his house. “I don’t know how I will reconstruct my house,” he said.
The villagers of Matupara are among the many who were sent back by the administration as part of the rehabilitation process. But they are yet to get any rehabilitation grant announced by the government, including tin sheets, despite claims by the government that proper rehabilitation and relief was being provided to the riot-affected. “We are yet to get anything. We got just Rs 500 when we were in the camp,” said Sabita.
“Where are the grants announced by the government? Eleven houses were gutted in the village when the violence started but none of the families have got anything till now,” Jaynath Narzary, a youth, said.
A senior official in Kokrajhar said the administration was still working on the rehabilitation process and the time required for verification of land documents had caused a delay in some villages.
“According to the government order, only families with patta land or government-allotted land are entitled for the rehabilitation grant, which comprises seven bundles of tin sheets and Rs 22,700 each to the families whose houses were completely burned and Rs 20,000 for partially damaged houses,” the official said.
According to a field survey undertaken by the Kokrajhar administration, 249 villages have been affected in Kokrajhar district with 126 in Kokrajhar subdivision, 87 in Gossaigaon and 36 in Parbhatjhora subdivision. A total 11,186 houses were fully damaged and 1,275 partially damaged.
A meeting was held here today to discuss relief and rehabilitation measures. It was also attended by senior officials of Bilisipara subdivision in Dhubri district. Sources said the participants decided to prepare an “action plan” for hassle-free rehabilitation of the displaced people.
A total of 51,673 people — 10,416 Bodos and 41,206 from minority communities — are still sheltered in 40 relief camps in Kokrajhar district.