GUWAHATI: An autonomous tribal council in Assam has given unused agricultural land to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali trust, primarily to prevent its encroachment by the illegal Bangladeshi migrants.
The 1,132.5-acre land in Chirang district was given to the trust earlier this year by the Bodoland Territorial Council
(BTC) despite protests by groups and organisations against the decision.
“The BTC told us that the unused land was given to Patanjali trust for free to prevent encroachment. According to BTC, another reason was the productive utilisation of the land,” All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) president Pramod Boro, told Express, on Thursday.
Rebel-turned-politician Hagrama Mohilary led Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which is a constituent of Assam’s ruling BJP led alliance, is in power in BTC. It looks after development in four districts, including Chirang, under Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) in western and northern Assam.
The land in question lies near river Aie and it belongs largely to BTC administration and partly to individuals. The individuals once had their settlements there before they moved to other places following frequent floods caused by the river. The BTC took a decision on the land transfer following the BPF’s poll truck with the BJP.
“Initially, the BTC had plans to have a knowledge city or an airport on the land…We disapprove the transfer of land to others. Land belonging to the government should be with the government,” Boro insisted.
Stating that large chunks of land in tribal belts and blocks in BTAD are under encroachment, the student leader disclosed that the BTC was up to giving another 88.76-acre land to Patanjali in Udalguri, which is another BTAD district.
“The BTC authorities did not consult the owners prior to giving the land in Chirang. The Patanjali trust is now going ahead with building infrastructures there,” Boro added.