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State govt decides to provide rights to 94 refugee colonies

Kolkata: In a unique decision the Bengal government has decided to regularise the people living in 94 refugee colonies situated on land owned by the Centre and private agencies across the state for the past four decades, so that they can avail pattas, various licenses and the facilities extended by the state government.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday that the state Cabinet has given approval to the proposal. The refugees living on Centre-owned or private land in the state for many years and having possession of 3 acre or less will henceforth be given various rights.

"We had said earlier that we would regularise 94 refugee colonies and the Land department had therefore taken up the issue with the Centre. But they (Centre) do not care. Moreover, they often issue notices for their eviction. Many refugees are living on Centre-owned lands. We have requested the Centre to regularise the refugees but they have turned a deaf ear to our appeal. Those who are living in the state have been facing several problems. We have already regularised as many as 13,352 families living on state government land," Banerjee stated.

Altogether 55,000 families have been living on land owned by the Centre and private agencies. There is around 973.299 acres owned by the Centre, with 119.5 acres owned by private agencies.

After the new rule gets passed, these refugees will be able to get their rights. Some have, however, raised questions on the technicalities of the matter as to how the state government can provide patta to the refugees living on Centre-owned land.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also announced that the state Cabinet has taken a decision to set up Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe commission for better development of the people belonging to these communities.

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