Even though two years and seven months have elapsed since the signing of the four-cornered agreement meant to settle 37,000 Brus who were originally displaced from Mizoram, the fate of some 2,500 families settled in camps in Tripura remains uncertain as the deadline for their settlement ends on August 31 next.
Out of 6,959 displaced families who left their homes when ethnic clashes broke out, the fate of 2,500 is still uncertain as they are yet to declare their choice of settlement location said a top official of the state revenue department, the nodal agency in charge of the entire settlement process.
Puneet Agarwal, principal secretary of the revenue department of government of Tripura said that these families are yet to file applications failing to do which “they shall be deprived of all central government assistance including the ongoing financial support as internally displaced and the declared rehabilitation package.”
Although information regarding the deadline has been published and advertised in the camps and regular discussions are on between Bru leaders and government officials, they are yet to get consent on the choice of their spot for permanent settlement.
In January 2020, a memorandum of understanding was signed between leaders of the government of India, Mizoram, Tripura, and representatives of the Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with a package of Rs 700 crore.
The Brus, who were earlier living in 7 districts in North Tripura district, shall now be re-settled in across Tripura.
It is believed that the resettlement process took a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown.
Issues also arose over the choice of land and getting the necessary permission for converting forest land. Agarwal says that the government had already identified 12 spots for rehabilitation, most of which are under the forest department.
Although the Centre had extended the deadline once, to August 31, it is unlikely to do so again, said a source.
As per provisions of the agreement, each family shall get Rs 1,50,000 for the construction of houses in three instalments besides a free land plot of 30x50 feet for constructing the house. “Once they get permanently settled, each family shall get a cash benefit of Rs 5000 per month besides free ration two years.
They shall get the citizenship of Tripura, besides Aadhaar card, MGNREGA card, and other benefits under various central and state government schemes. Their names shall also be added to the electoral rolls.
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