The Telegraph
Thursday , July 3 , 2014
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Knock on rights door
Group to move panel on eviction drive Relief

Guwahati, July 2: One of the organisations which has spearheaded the struggle for the landless in the Assam capital said today it would approach the Assam Human Rights Commission tomorrow against the ongoing eviction drive.

The Bhumi Adhikar Sangram Samiti, Assam, said the Kamrup (metro) district administration had launched the drive without proper relief and rehabilitation for the poor people.

“By demolishing the houses of poor people, the district administration has violated human rights. Where have they got the rights to do so?” asked Prabinjyoti Kalita.

Ironically, the Samiti claimed it had been demanding clearing of the waterbodies from encroachers for years.

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), which is also one of the organisations demanding land for the landless, however, had supported the eviction drive.

The district administration, which has earned applause from many people for its effort to clear the waterbodies, continued the drive for the third day.

It demolished 14 pucca houses, 41 kuccha houses, 23 boundary walls and cleared 11 bighas of land at Silsako Beel and demolished 33 pucca houses and cleared four kathas of land along the Bharalu today.

The Samiti had dared the administration to demolish buildings constructed by affluent families on government land or waterbodies. Many families, already evicted by the administration, demanded the same.

“We are ready to vacate the place happily if the administration demolishes the multi-storied building adjacent to our huts. Why isn’t the administration demolishing them?” asked Suresh Bora, a displaced person.

The KMSS has raised the same demand of evicting multi-storied buildings built along waterbodies.

The Samiti demanded the administration to shift the families living in landslide-prone areas on the hills to safer places and erect walls in the landslide-prone areas.

The Samiti will hold a meeting of the presidents and secretaries of its 88 branches on Friday to discuss the issue.

The administration today asked people living in landslide-prone areas to vacate their homes within 48 hours.

It has published a list of such places and appointed 10 NGOs to spread awareness among people that they should leave their homes.

The administration has identified 366 landslide-prone places on the 19 hills in and around Guwahati.

Nine people were killed owing to landslides and electrocution after torrential rain lashed the city on June 27.

The deaths prompted Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi to convene a high-level meeting on the flood situation and he asked the administration to clear the waterbodies from encroachers.