Tripura CM visits rehabilitation place for displaced Bru people

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Agartala, Apr 29 (PTI) Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Thursday visited Hadukuluk, a tribal hamlet in Dhalai district where internally displaced Bru community people of Mizoram are being resettled, and assured them of all cooperation from the government.

Altogether 426 Bru people belonging to 92 families were taken from a relief camp in North Tripura district, which they knew as their home for over two decades, to Hadukuluk on April 19. They will set up houses on land provided by the government as a measure to permanently solve the problem of the community.

Work for rehabilitation of the Brus was progressing well with the coordinated efforts of the administration and the community leaders, Deb said and asked those who were allotted land there to settle before the rainy season starts.

'I will visit this place again after an year, when it will turn turn to a beautiful village. I will also request you (Brus) to maintain a good relationship with the local people and share everything with them,' the chief minister said.

Thousands of the Bru tribal people have been living in relief camps in Tripura since 1997. They had fled their homeland Mizoram to reach the neighbouring state because of ethnic clashes. By now, their number has risen to over 30,000 and there are more than 4,400 families.

The 426 people who were shifted to Hadukuluk are the first batch to be rehabilitated in another place of Tripura, following an agreement signed in January last year among representatives of the community, the Centre and the governments of Tripura and Mizoram.

A 1,200 square feet plot has been allotted to each rehabilitated Bru family and they will now have to set up a home on that with an amount of Rs 1.5 lakh provided by the government. They are currently living in tents.

The agreement guarantees a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh for each family, a monthly sum of Rs 5,000 and free monthly ration for two years and schools in all cluster villages.

'Once I had thought that this plan would not be successful. But it was a historic day when the Brus had left for the place for settlement from the camp on April 19,' Deb said.

The Centre has provided a package of Rs 600 crore for a permanent solution to their problems, he had said earlier.

An official, who oversees the entire rehabilitation process, said that 1,638 Bru families will be rehabilitated at four places - Hadukuluk and Bongaphapara in Dhalai district and Kaskau and Waimbukcherra-Ranipara in North Tripura district.

The state government is waiting for clearance from the central government for nine more places to resettle the remaining Bru people, he said.

The Brus are staying in six camps at Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions of North Tripura district. They get free ration and a cash dole from the Centre.

The vexed Bru issue started in September, 1997, following demands of a separate autonomous district council for the community by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura. A large number of Bru people fled from Mizoram to Tripura as ethnic clashes broke out.

The situation was aggravated by the murder of a forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in western Mizoram by Bru National Liberation Front insurgents on October 21 that year and another round of exodus followed.

The Centre, along with the governments of Tripura and Mizoram, had been trying to repatriate them to their home state over the past decade, with little success.

The first attempt to repatriate the Brus from Tripura was made in November 2009 and the last one in 2019.

Several Bru families have refused to return to Mizoram, citing security concerns and inadequate rehabilitation packages. Some have also sought a separate autonomous council for the community.

However, the January 2020 agreement has allowed these tribal people to permanently settle in Tripura. PTI JOY NN NN