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To counter Centre’s plan, Mamata Banerjee regularises 94 refugee colonies

Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee   | Photo Credit: PTI

The West Bengal Chief Minister says the decision, taken during a Cabinet meeting during the day, would benefit over 20,000 families and over 1.25 lakh people.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced the “regularisation” of 94 refugee colonies on lands of the State and Central governments and on private premises. The decision, taken during a Cabinet meeting during the day, would benefit over 20,000 families and over 1.25 lakh people, she said. 

“It was a long time back...1971 [when the refugees came from East Pakistan due to Liberation War of Bangladesh]. For almost 48 years, these people have been left hanging without a home or land. I believe, refugees have the right,” she said. “We have decided to regularise all the lands [refugee settlements], solely because it has been a long time now.” 

By referring to 1971, Ms Banerjee has made it clear that the move to regularise refugee settlements is a strategy to counter the Centre’s plan to implement Citizenship Amendment Bill [CAB], 2016 and eventually the National Register of Citizens in Bengal where Muslims are targeted as Bangladeshis. While the Bill proposed to provide citizenship to all excepting Muslims, Ms. Banerjee's announcement would ensure legalisation of property for all. 

Ms Banerjee said the West Bengal Land Department took the initiative and pursued the matter but did not have much success and occasionally the families residing in these colonies would get eviction notice.

“There are 13,353 families residing on the State government land. If we consider five members in each family, the number would be about 70,000,” she said. About 11,986 families were staying in the land of Government of India and also some private land for which there had been no claimant for the past few decades, she added.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 6:24:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/government-to-provide-land-possession-and-regularisation-for-refugees-says-mamata/article30076939.ece

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