Express News Service
GUWAHATI: The issue of the resettlement of displaced Brus in Tripura has now reached the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
Based on a complaint that the refugees, who originally hail from neighbouring Mizoram, are being resettled in a forest, the NGT has directed Tripura’s Principal Secretary of Forest Department, District Magistrate of North Tripura and other officials to submit a report on the rehabilitation plan by July 14 when the matter will be heard again.
Dhanishwar Debnath had lodged a complaint with the NGT citing an e-tender floated by the Tripura government on November 4, 2020. He said the government was seeking certain constructions within a forest area in North Tripura district for the rehabilitation of the refugees.
“The further grievance of the applicant is that this area wherein the applicant and others reside is under green cover and is a good forest area comprising more than 250 Ha and it is this forest area over which the construction is sought to be made to resettle the ‘Bru’ community in violation of Section 2 of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. In our opinion, the matter requires consideration,” an NGT bench of Judicial Member B Amit Sthalekar and Expert Member Saibal Dasgupta said in an order issued on June 9.
The bench allowed the complainant to implead the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Head of Forest Force.
A quadripartite agreement was signed in January last year among Bru leaders and the central, Tripura and Mizoram governments for the resettlement of some 40,000 Brus (also called Reangs) who fled Mizoram in 1997 in the face of ethnic violence. Subsequently, they were lodged in six relief camps in Tripura.
Altogether 515 of them were moved out of the camps in North Tripura district in April this year and sent to two locations in the state’s Dhalai district as a part of the permanent resettlement.
Earlier, the Tripura government had said the refugees would be resettled at 16 places in four districts. It constituted four committees to oversee resettlement.