Jorhat: Dispur has asked the districts to initiate steps against people encroaching upon government land and take effective measures to vacate such land from the possession of encroachers.
Official sources in the revenue department said a recent directive by the department to all the districts has asked to take a tough stand against encroachment of government land, which of late unscrupulous elements were indulging in.
Sources said the directive comes in the wake of reports of criminal groups under the guise of real estate developers encroaching upon vacant government land and also grabbing private land, with construction business growing in many towns of the state.
The directive has asked deputy commissioners, additional deputy commissioners (revenue), sub-divisional officers (civil) and revenue circle officers to give priority to the matter and initiate legal steps immediately to clear encroachment.
The message asked DCs to carry out survey of suspected encroachment of government land by the revenue officials and staff in the districts and take immediate steps to vacate such land according to provisions of the law and with police assistance.
The DCs have been asked to supervise the process of taking back the encroached land and keep a close watch on the matter and constantly review actions taken by their subordinates to clear encroachment.
According to the sources, encroachment of land in public places and roadside was increasing in recent times across the state and was coming in the way of implementation of various projects, which included construction and repair of roads.
The directive asked to expedite the process of allotment and settlement of land to landless people, especially victims of flood and erosion.
Assam is one of the major affected states where annual floods and constant erosion by the Brahmaputra in the last three decades have rendered many homeless with thousands residing in make-shift camps on the embankment for years, waiting rehabilitation.
The message also directed the districts to take legal action against companies (big tea gardens) or individuals, whose excess land under the Land Ceiling Act had to be given to the government, has been occupying it.
The directive said the defaulters should be asked to surrender alternative land of equal quantity of excess land in their possession to the government or be penalised Rs 200 per bigha on surplus land according to the law.
The revenue circle officers have been asked to hold rajah adalats in the villages to dispose of different revenue disputes and also collect revenue tax arrears in frequent intervals.
Sources said recently top revenue department officials held a meeting with senior officials of several departments, including the PWD, to discuss impediments that the departments have been facing in executing projects because of encroachment, besides acquisition of land by the government.
In a related development, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi tomorrow will launch a special state-wide 15-day drive, Mukhya Mantrir Bhumi Nathi Unnitkaran Abhijan, here to dispose of pending land cases in the revenue circle offices.