Guwahati: Over 7500 bighas of land belonging to Satras (Vaishnavite monasteries) in the state were under illegal encroachment, said an interim report by the Commission set up by the state government to inspect allegations of encroachments in Satra land.
On Friday, the Commission submitted its first interim report before chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in Dispur here. The Commission was headed by former Minister Pradip Hazarika.
In November last year, the state cabinet decided to form the Assam state commission for the review and assessment of problems of Satra land and asked three legislators of the state to file a report on the various allegations of land encroachment of Satra land in the state.
The Commission took over charge towards the end of December 2021. Since then it undertook extensive tours across the State and so far covered as many as 12 districts viz. Barpeta, Dhubri, Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Kamrup, Morigaon, Nagaon, Jorhat, Majuli, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, and Karimganj.
In this process, the Commission visited 12 districts and covered 62 Satras besides visiting the most severely affected sites in each of the districts visited.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “In the interim report, it was found that around 7504 bighas of Satra land of three Satras in 11 districts were illegally encroached. The Commission will prepare the report of the remaining Satras soon.”
Based on the outcome of the fact-finding visit and data furnished by as many as 303 Satras across 11 districts, the Commission has compiled the information on the status of lands with these Satras. The data showed a total of 33265.7 bighas (8413.89 ha) of land being under their possession and a total of 7504.2 bighas (1898.04 ha) as being under encroachment.
He informed that the Commission received 44 memorandums from various organizations during their survey and the assessment was conducted in an elaborate manner.
“The highest encroachment of Satra land was found in Barpeta district by the Commission followed by Lakhimpur and Nagaon districts. Besides, Satra land in Bongaigaon and Dhubri districts was also encroached,” the CM said citing the report.
He added that the report would be sent to all concerned district administrations for further action.
Hazarika while handing over the interim report 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 Satra land was running since 1956 when the East Bengal migrants mostly farmers were settled in the state during land reforms then. “
“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,” Sarma added.
Earlier, Assam Satra Mahasabha and other organisations of the state alleged that a large number of land belonging to the Satras was being occupied by encroachers.