Assam to provide land rights to indigenous people through self-certification: CM

Published on Nov 14, 2022 07:57 PM IST

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the state government is planning to provide land rights through self-certification to indigenous people

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. (File Photo)
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. (File Photo)

The Assam government is planning to provide land rights through self-certification to indigenous people who are settled on land as a village settlement for three generations but don’t have any ownership records, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday.

“This entire process is meant indigenous people who are residing in a plot for at least three generations without any dispute. The land records will be provided on the basis of self-certification by the residents,” Biswa Sarma said while launching Mission Basundhara 2.0 scheme in Guwahati.

He said that the central premise of Mission Basundhar 2 is to provide land rights to those who have been residing in particular plots for long but don’t have any official records.

“This leads to insecurity among those residing in those plots, which in turn can be exploited by others. As the rights and records of government lands in Assam are not clearly defined, there has been a systematic encroachment of empty plots. Over time it becomes difficult to remove these encroachers,” Sarma said.

He added that due to non-existence of land records of people residing in particular plots of land for generations, they are not able to avail bank loans, unable to get income certificates and other important documents.

“If we are able to provide land rights to people who don’t have records, the government would be able to earn around 1500 cr in land revenue annually. There needs to be overhaul of the system, zonal verification of lands should be done and different slabs of taxes fixed,” he said.

Sarma, however, added that those residing in ‘char’ areas (sand bars created by deposition of silt by rivers) won’t be able to avail the benefits of this scheme due to ecological reasons. There will be an exception to this rule for Majuli district, the world’s biggest riverine island on Brahmaputra, as it is a “permanent island”.

Verification will be done by officials wherever there is doubt. Land records won’t be provided to those about whom there are some doubts. This facility won’t be available for those who are organised land encroachers, he said.

“I would appeal all indigenous people of Assam to avail this facility provided by Mission Basundhara 2.0. Because if they don’t get their land records now, they might have to face eviction at a later date,” Sarma added.

The first phase of Mission Basundhara, a flagship scheme of government to redress all kinds of land issues, was launched in October, 2021 and continued till May, 2022 and nearly 600,000 applicants had availed the benefits.

Sarma asked district deputy commissioners to settle all Ryot lands across Assam as soon as possible as part of Mission Basundhara 2. There are nearly 360,000 Ryot land holders across Assam. These lands are traditionally held by farmers who cultivate land for many years but don’t have ownership rights.

He also directed district officials to convert annual patta land (land records settled for one year) to periodic patta. While annual patta allows a person to hold a plot of land he can’t sell it unless it’s converted to annual patta.

Land revenue collection would soon become online for all parts of the state and land owners will be able to pay their taxes without visiting the government offices. People will soon be able to procure revenue stamp papers online instead of hard copies and mutation of property will also be done online.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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