Agartala, February 6: All the internally displaced Bru tribal people who are living in relief camps in Tripura for years will be rehabilitated permanently within the state by March 31, Union Minister of State for Social Empowerment & Justice, Pratima Bhoumik, said on Sunday.
The rehabilitation of these people, who are originally from neighbouring Mizoram, began in April last year and around 43 per cent of the 6,950 Bru families living in six relief camps in North Tripura district have already been resettled, according to government data.
“Bru refugees have started going to the designated places and the resettlement process is expected to be completed by March 31,” Bhoumik said after a review meeting on the issue at Kanchanpur in the district.
Finding a solution to their problem was apparently impossible but it is going to be solved under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, she claimed.
We do meet once a month to review the progress of Bru resettlement. Today, we had a meeting with North Tripura District Magistrate Nagesh Kumar and sub-divisional magistrates of Kanchanpur and Panisagar to revisit the process, the Union minister said.
Thousands of the Bru tribal people have been living in relief camps in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions 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.
Around 3,000 Bru families have already been resettled and 3,959 are still in the camps, an official said.
Altogether 162 acres of land will be required to resettle all the Bru families, according to an estimate by the Revenue department.
The rehabilitation of the Bru community people started on April 20 last year following an agreement signed in January 2020 among representatives of the community, the Centre and the governments of Tripura and Mizoram.
As per the agreement, each rehabilitated Bru family will get a 1200 square feet plot to build a house with an amount of Rs 1.5 lakh provided by the government. 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 the resettlement is completed, Bru families will become permanent residents of Tripura and will be eligible to vote in the state.
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 tried several times to repatriate them to their home state, with little success. The first attempt to repatriate the Brus from Tripura was made in November 2009 and the last one in 2019.
Many Bru families had refused to return to Mizoram, citing security concerns and inadequate rehabilitation package. Some others had 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)