22th March 2012, Tinsukiya
On the 22nd March, the first stoppage of the journey was Kakapather in the district of Tinsnkiya, where Sarvodaya Mandal and Ekta Prisad Assam, had jointly convened a public meeting. In the meeting, delegates from nearly 20 villages of the eastern border of Assam District, participated. Mr. Kanak Sakya of Navjyoti village shared that the demarcation line had been determined between Assam and Arunachal by the river Nandihi in the eastern border of Tinsukiya District. Moreover, the people living in Dirak Chumani had been displaced by dam constructed in 1992. Later due to its effect, Nirak, Mukahand, Minjauli villages had been displaced. People of all these three villages have not been provided compensation till yet. Government, by the year 2011, had made fund of several crores available for repair of Dirak Chumani dam but that amount was also embezzled. Since 25 other villages also fall under the region of this dam, there is one common demand of all these villages that there should be a proper repair of their dam. He told that there was only one unmettalled road for traffic in Dirak Chumani area which was constructed during the dam construction but there is no repair or improvement till now. Therefore, this roadway is not properly usable by local villagers. He said that the people of Dirak Chumani area have been seriously affected and flood-stricken since 1974. People living in the bordering areas have been accepted neither by Arunachal Pradesh nor by Assam. They had expectation with Jansatyagraha that the matter and situation of this neglected area of Tinsukiya District must be put before the central and state governments. Local social worker Mr. Mridul Bhai said that the construction work of National Highway 52 has been started from the year 2007. By the completion of work, agricultural and of about 5000 families had been acquired and none of them has been provided any compensation till today. He shared that a written application was given to the district administration in this regard but no relief was provided to the sufferers and affected till now. He shared that land acquisition was made on a large scale during the road construction though the farmer’s were totally dependent on the agriculture. That is why today they are on the verge of starvation. A local villager told that with the construction of National Highway in this area, there has been traffic of armed forces and army on a large scale. Since this region has been a history of powerful social movements, so the armed forces look with suspect to local social organizations and local social workers. During past 10 years of armed forces existence, there are many cases of murders and many of social workers have gone underground. Being the frontier district, houses are generally raided. Many students and farmers are wrongly blamed for criminal practices. He said that the local people are not able to raise their voice against the armed forces whereas local administration also does not like to take any serious step for proceedings against the complaints lodged earlier. Mr. Virendra Deka of Ekta Parishad shared the problems of small tea producers of this area. He told that in Tinsukiya District alone there are about 10 thousand small tea producers who have transformed their paddy fields into tea gardens with a view to earn more. At first, the rate of tea leaf was fixed about Rs 20 to 24 per kg but due to increase in production and under the pressure of big businessman the cost of tea leaf has been reduced to Rs 3 to 10 per kg. Since small farmers have no facility of storage and processing they are mainly being exploited by the big traders. Moreover, due to more production than demand in the neighbouring countries like China and Sri Lanka with commercial cultivation, direct impact has fallen on the export of tea from India. Small producers are facing the risk of livelihood due to limited possibilities of export. In fact, these small tea producers must be given commercial preservation to ensure their livelihood and prestige. He expected that the demand of these small tea producers would be placed before the provincial and central governments through this Jansatyagraha. He declared that nearly 100 people would join it from this region.