On 12th March,
Jan Satyagraha yatra reached north east state of Assam after visiting 11 states and travelling about 30000 kms. Senior Gandhian and Shanti Sadhna Ashram leader, Mr. Hem Bhai and friends welcomed the yatra in Halakura of Dhubri district. The first stop of yatra was the Nirmaan Asharam of Halakura. The founder of Nirman Asharam, Mr. Hem Bhai told that the Ashram was established 1982 with the objective of establishing peach and to promote rural artisanship. He shared this area was declared as disturbed area in 1971-72. After that, a number of workers motivated with non violence ideology started working in the area with many of them directly related with Nirman Asharam. He said that the Asharam is also working on the important issue of revival of northeastern culture. Chhatrasaal Ramrai Kuti village which was setup about 550 years ago has done significant work on cultural and social aspects to bring the communities together on India- Bangladesh border. The villagers told that this is a flood affected area where most of the people are dependent on Agriculture. However, no compensation is given for crops that are affected by floods and majority of marginal farmers have to migrate. Senior journalist, Mr. Shiv Das Bhattacharya said that the north eastern states are attached to the Siliguri corridor of West Bengal. This area comprises of river valley and dense forests but there is uncontrolled exploitation of forest resources in the last few years. As a result, communities dependent on forests are gradually becoming landless. On the one hand, the water level of river Brahmaputra (which is called life line of north eastern states) is declining while on the other, most of the areas in Maisa, Barobararachaar, barudanga, Kanori and Golak Ganj have been affected by Gangadhar River (Dhubri District). Land erosion is the biggest danger to agriculture in these areas. Every year, about 1000 acre of land in this area is affected by floods but there has not been any clear compensation plan by state government. Beside this, large number of people migrating from neighbouring countries in search of jobs has changed the demographics of the region and have created demographic imbalance. This is creating a situation of caste based violence in the
region. He further said that one of the main problems of the North Eastern states is the absence of lack of realistic and people, centered water policy. Besides this, Brahmputra and other supporting rivers like Raidak, Duba suba, Goalnani, Karkuldanga and Now danga have dried up which has adversely affected agriculture and irrigation projects. If the government wants, it can develop agriculture through conservation of natural resource in the region. Irrigation facilities could be provided to additional 60% land area but no concrete efforts have been made by the government in this direction. Due to construction activities, there has been an increase in landslides in the hilly areas of Bodoland and Assam, where forest dwellers are facing difficulties due to destruction of forest resources. He expressed that the Jansatyagraha Samwad Yatra would raise these issues before the government.