Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Silsako Beel eviction: Assam govt to acquire land allotted to 17 institutions

The Assam government will acquire 179 bighas (59 acres) of land allotted to 17 institutions that will be evicted from Silsako Beel (lake) in Guwahati, an official order stated.
The institutions to be evicted include Tata Group’s Ginger hotel, apex literary body Asam Sahitya Sabha and residential units of the state assembly and Doordarshan Kendra. The state government faced flak from the public and opposition during a recent eviction drive at the lake.
After the acquisition process is over, the buildings will be demolished like many structures were brought down for several days since February 27 by the Kamrup Metropolitan District authorities.
Some other institutions whose legally allotted land will be acquired are Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development– an autonomous research institute of ICSSR and Government of Assam, and the Chilarai Bhawan of All Assam Koch Rajbongshi Sanmilani.
Land parcels given to All Assam Tennis Association for a tennis complex, Asam Sahitya Sabha, National Institute of TV and Theatre, one veterinary hospital, and Assam Assembly and Doordarshan Kendra for building residential quarters for their staffers will also be cleared. The list of 17 institutions also contains several schools, one college and land allotted to Asom Saah Shramik Kalyan Parishad.
During the recent eviction drive in the heart of the capital city, scores of houses, offices and shops were pulled down. Most of the people affected in this drive are from indigenous communities such as Bodo, Mising, Karbi, Ahom and Bishnupriya Manipuri among others.
The government in 2008 had declared Silsako Beel, surrounded by Chachal, Hengerabari, Pathar Quarry and Satgaon areas, a protected water body in Guwahati through an Act and prohibited any construction or settlement in around 1,800 bighas (over 595 acres) of the lake area.
As per Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) chairman Narayan Deka, less than 300 bighas of the lake remained free from encroachment and the waterbody was reduced to a “small pit”.
“This is one of the main reasons for water logging in the eastern part of Guwahati city during the monsoon season,” he had claimed.
On March 2, the Kamrup Metropolitan district administration issued an order to demolish as many as 89 bridges over Bahini river along an approximately 8 km stretch in Guwahati to ease water logging problems in a part of the city.
However, the order was modified on March 6 and said 26 bridges will be demolished instead of 89 after the district authority and the state government were slammed by the opposition and social media users.
The Himanta Biswa Sarma-led dispensation has been carrying out eviction drives in different parts of the state since it assumed power in May 2021. In the last three months, several major eviction exercises have taken place.
In one of the largest eviction drives in Assam, the administration, in a three-day exercise from February 14, cleared 2,099 hectares in Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary and nearby revenue villages in Sonitpur district, affecting almost 12,800 people.


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