Tripura residents affected by fencing continue strike

Friday, February 4, 2011

AGARTALA - People affected by the fencing on the India-Bangladesh frontier in Tripura continued their relay hunger strike for the third day Friday demanding immediate rehabilitation.

The strike will continue until the Tripura government accepts the 19-point demands, including the resettlement of the affected families, Congress legislator Subal Bhowmik told reporters.

According to Bhowmik, who is spearheading the protest, over 8,500 families have been affected by the construction of the barbed wire fencing, which is going on.

The Indian government has been erecting the fence along the 856 km India-Bangladesh border with Tripura to check trans-border movement of militants, prevent infiltration from across the border and check numerous border crimes.

Similar fencing is being erected all along the 4,095 km India-Bangladesh border with West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram besides Tripura.

After the partition of India, thousands of families engaged in farming and agriculture have been living along both sides of the border for generations. Huge extent of farmland also falls outside the fencing, Bhowmik said.

He said the families not only lost their ancestral home land but also have been facing uncertainty over their farmlands that fall outside the fencing.

Blaming Tripura’s Left Front government for ignoring the legitimate demands of the affected people, the Congress leader said: The central government is also willing to help the state to resolve the problems of these displaced people.

The state government must send detailed proposals to the center to rehabilitate the dislocated people and to support in their livelihood schemes, Bhowmik said, referring to union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s suggestion.

He said a huge area of farm land, markets, temples, mosques, public utilities and permanent constructions in Tripura were fenced out due to wrong alignment of the barbed wire fencing.

A Tripura government official said that several thousand affected families have already been rehabilitated and the process is on to resettle the remaining people.

The state government had sent a Rs.95 crore project to the central government long back for economic rehabilitation of the fencing affected people. New Delhi is yet to respond favourably on this scheme, the official added.

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