End of 24 Year Long Hiatus: Internally Displaced Brus Find Permanent Resettlement

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Posted in Featured, Northeast, Tripura

– Abhijit Nath, NET Correspondent, Tripura

After nearly 24 years of great sorrow and suffering, the Bru or Reang- Internally Displaced People (IDPs) has got assurance of a bright future for themselves and their future generations. The tag of a refugee in his own country is going to be a thing of the past for them.

These people are grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, for their joint efforts to find a permanent solution to the problem. Thousands of people from the Reang tribe had taken refuge in Tripura since 1997 after being victims of ethnic conflict in Mizoram. They were kept in various refugee camps in the undivided Kanchanpur subdivision. Now they are being rehabilitated as permanent citizens of Tripura in five districts of the state.

For two decades, no one could have imagined that a government would be so determined to secure their future. Current Chief Minister, Biplab Kumar Deb gave special priority to the permanent resettlement of Bru IDPs. Hundreds of families had returned to their homes after talks between the Central government, Tripura government, Mizoram government and BRU IDPs’ representatives. But fearing repercussions, a large number of people refused to return to Mizoram. So new administrative thinking began on how to rehabilitate them. Discussions started again between all the parties. A historic agreement was signed between the on January 16, 2020. As per the agreement, the process of permanent resettlement of Reang refugees on Tripura soil finally started. For this, the central government gave a special package of Rs 600 crore to the Tripura government so that all their needs are met.

On April 19, more than 800 Reang refugee families from Kanchanpur and Panisagar subdivisions were shifted to Kaskau and Vaibakchara Ranichhara in Panisagar subdivision of North Tripura district and Lantravali and Ambasa subdivisions in Dhalai district for permanent resettlement. Of these, there are more than four hundred families in Dhalai. Temporary refugee barracks has been set up by the administration at a distance of about 10 km from Sadar Chailengta in the Longtharai Valley subdivision under the Dhalai district of Tripura. In the lap of nature, the administration has set up barracks with a total of 10 tents in the hilly area of Bangfa Para of Labanchra ADC village. Drinking water and toilet facilities have been set up. So far 206 families have taken shelter in this camp. The local administration has provided 9 kg of rice and 1 kg of salt to each of them as essential supplies.

Packaged food is being given twice a day. Other cooked items including vegetables are also being provided. Reang refugees are fairly happy with the efforts of the state administration. Speaking with Northeast Today over the telephone, EJ Charkhi, Secretary of the Bru Displaced Resettlement Samiti, Bagapha Para Camp, expressed special gratitude to the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and Chief Minister of Tripura. Jajiram Charkhi, Kalajoy Reang, Dhanuram Meska, Pradeep Reang, Kiradhan Reang are very excited to get a new place.

A similar picture was seen in the Hadukalau rehabilitation camp of the Ambassa sub-division in Dhalai district of Tripura. Rehabilitation, government assistance, housing, etc. were discussed with Uttam Kumar Reang, the secretary of the camp. At present, there are 207 families in Haduklau Rehabilitation Camp. All these are being monitored by the concerned district administration and sub-divisional administration officials.

The barracks in each of the two camps of Longtharai Valley and Ambassa subdivisions have been provided with electricity. Solar lights have also been installed along with electric fans. Everyone is hoping that in the next few days, with the help of the government, they will be able to leave the barracks and live their lives in their own home.

Union Home minister Amit Shah earlier informed that each of the displaced families would be given 40×30 sq ft residential plots, in addition to the aid under the earlier agreement of a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh, Rs 5,000 cash aid per month for two years, free ration for two years and Rs 1.5 lakh aid to build their house under the new arrangement. The government of Tripura would provide the land under this agreement. The Tripura government had identified a total of 16 locations in five districts including Gomati, Sepahijala, Khowai, Dhalai, and North Tripura for resettling 4,900 families comprising about 32,000 people across the state.

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