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Goalpara camps shut as Rabhas leave
- Compensation package for affected families

Shillong, March 2: Relief camps in the Goalpara district have now been closed down and rehabilitation of the displaced Rabhas has started.

Goalpara deputy commissioner Ashok Babu told The Telegraph that the last batch of Rabhas left the relief camps on February 28 and all the camps have been closed down.

On February 22, the Centre had said the relief camps in Assam, housing Rabhas from neighbouring Meghalaya villages, would be closed within 15 days.

After the closure of the camps, 4,550 Rabhas are now housed in the 19 transit camps of East Garo Hills district, while others have either left for their respective villages or are staying with their relatives in Goalpara.

East Garo Hills deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi said the administration had started distributing compensation package to the Rabhas, which comprises three bundles of corrugated galvanised sheets and Rs 10,000 to each family.

Initially, the government had earmarked compensation package for 802 families, which has now gone up to 984, Bakshi said. To provide nutritional supplement to babies of the affected families, Bakshi said the district administration would distribute 500 packets of Lactogen.

Moreover, the government has allotted Rs 50 lakh, from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), to help Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students, who were affected during the clash, the deputy commissioner said.

He said the amount would be utilised to purchase exercise books, pencil boxes, school bags and other school materials for the affected students. Some amount has also been set aside to renovate a Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan school, Bakshi said.

Around Rs 15 lakh has also been sanctioned under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to help Garo and Rabha girl students, he said.

The administration will seek help from the revenue department to renovate schools, which were not considered under the literacy scheme, Bakshi said.

The deputy commissioner also said the biggest challenge for the administration now is to prevent the spread of malaria.

While DDT has been sprayed in all the affected villages and camps, the district administration will also distribute long lasting mosquito nets.

“As of now, we will be distributing 35,000 nets to those living in Mendipathar and Resubelpara,” he said. An order has been placed to acquire 75,000 nets. Apart from the nets, anti-malarial drugs will also be distributed.

Bakshi said peace meetings would be conducted in all the affected villages.

Thousands of people were displaced during the ethnic clash between Garos and Rabhas in January, along the Assam-Meghalaya border in East Garo Hills and Goalpara districts, which left 12 dead and several others injured.

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