Locals resent Assam Rifles bid to occupy land

Guwahati, July 25 : The Assam Rifles' plan to occupy a piece of land in a wetland, located in the outskirts of the city, has run into protests by local people who said their source of livelihood would be jeopardised.

The area where the para-military force plans to build a facility is known as Rani Development Block which forms a part of a wetland in Kamrup district.

An officer of the Block Development Office, Ranjan Dutta, said, "If the land is allocated to the Assam Rifles, local people will have nothing to survive on as Rani Block is a green reserve providing them the means of sustenance."

Several NGOs sent representations to the deputy commissioner's office against the move to hand over the land by the Kamrup district administration, particularly after senior minister and government spokesman Himanta Biswa Sarma had announced that wetlands would be protected.

The Assam rifles has already demarcated the area where it plans to set up the facility.

A resident of Rani Block, Bidyut Barman who also heads a local NGO, says that the land planned to be taken over by the Assam Rifles is very fertile and farmers have cultivated the area since ages without using any chemical fertiliser.