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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Assam: Panel report reveals 7,504.2 bighas of Sattra land under encroachment

It was informed that a total of 33,265.7 bighas (8,413.89 hectares) of land are under the occupation of 303 Sattras (vaishnavite shrines) across the state.


A total of 7,504.2 bighas (1,898.04 hectares) of Sattra land is under illegal occupation across the state, revealed the interim report of the Commission for Review and Assessment of Problems of Sattra Lands in Assam (CRAPSLA), which was submitted to Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on December 2.


“Happy to receive the interim report of the Commission for Review & Assessment of Problems of Sattra Lands in Assam led by MLA Prodip Hazarika. The Commission visited 62 sattras to prepare the report, which we’ll study before deciding on the next course of action,” Sarma tweeted after getting the report.


It was informed that a total of 33,265.7 bighas (8,413.89 hectares) of land are under the occupation of 303 Sattras (vaishnavite shrines) across the state.


Following the decision of the State Cabinet on November 24, 2021, a three-member Sattra panel was constituted to go in to the factual position of the land belonging to the Sattras


The panel was headed by former minister and AGP MLA from Amguri constituency, Pradeep Hazarika, with Mrinal Saikia and Rupak Sarma as members. 


The panel visited the state and covered as many as 12 districts–Barpeta, Dhubri, Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Kamrup, Morigaon, Nagaon, Jorhat, Majuli, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, and Karimganj, covering 62 Sattras, including the most severely affected sites. 


“Of this, maximum encroachment has been reported in Barpeta district (5,545 bighas) and represents about 74% of what has been reported and assessed so far,” the report said. 


“Barpeta is followed by Lakhimpur & Nagaon districts in central and upper Assam and two other lower Assam districts viz Bongaingaon and Dhubri,” the report also said.


In respect of Barpeta, the Sattras seriously affected and found to be most vulnerable include, Bhattadev Sattra Byaskuchi (4,000 bighas), Barpeta Sattra (859 bighas), Sundaridia (282 bighas) Moinbori (140 bighas), Pirala Satra (101 bighas), Gamura (65 bighas) and Basudev Dewaloi Na-Satra (63 bighas). 

In Bangaigaon, the single most affected sattra is Raghunath Sattra, which alone has reported encroachment of a total of 309 bighas. 


In Dhubri district too, one of the most badly impacted Sattras is Simolabari Purani Sattra, where nearly 200 bighas are under encroachment.


In Lakhimpur district, three sattras are important viz Adi Alengi (122 bighas) Sakopora (138 bighas) and Purana Kamalabari Satra (300 bighas).


“Another district which is very badly affected is the undivided Nagaon district (comprising present Nagaon and Morigaon districts). One very major problem in the district is that most of the Sattras viz Bardowa, Kobaikota, Narowa-Balisatra, Alipukhuri-Patekibari, Dumdumia Sattra, Rampur Sattra etc, all historic sattras in the district, are under heavy encroachments and the alarming situation was noticed by the Commission during its visit to the district,” the report further said.


The panel also made two sets of recommendations: One, which relates to a few specific Sattras, and two, the Interim General Recommendations, and together it comprises of as many as 41 recommendations.


The recommendations which relate to specific Sattras include Barpeta Sattra and Pidala Sattra in Barpeta district and Bardowa Than and its network of other Sattras connected to the Than which include Kobaikota, Dhing-Salaguri, Narowa-Balisatra, Alipukhuri-Patekibari, Dumdumia Sattra, Rampur Sattra etc. 

One specific recommendation relating to Bardowa Than and the connected Satras in Nagaon district is to develop it as a well-planned and well-developed Religious Tourism Circuit connected to the memories of the Guru, to be called say, ‘Sankar Peeth’ or ‘Guru Peeth Darshan’ 


Submitting the report, Hazarika said, “Due to flood and other factors, we are yet to compile the complete report. However, during the survey, it was found that the illegal encroachment on Sattra land was running since 1956 when the East Bengal migrants mostly farmers were settled in the state during land reforms then.”


The chief minister said the report would be sent to all concerned district administrations for further action.


“No previous government has taken any initiative to know the details of land encroachments of Satras land. The committee will identify and gravity of the situation and verify all the allegations and complaints,” the chief minister added. 


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