Displaced Tripura villagers on relay hunger strike
The relay hunger strike by hundreds of people in Tripura, seeking rehabilitation after being displaced by the erection of barbed wire fencings along the Bangladesh border, entered its 31st day on Monday.
The villagers have been agitating since Feburary 10, demanding financial assistance and rehabilitation near Sonamura in west Tripura after their homes were uprooted due to the fencing work.
"The State Government had informed the Prime Minister and Home Minister a number of times about the problems faced by about 9,000 families living in the bordering areas," Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told the state assembly.
"The State Government had sent a Rs 930 million proposal to the Centre long back for rehabilitation of the displaced people and it has already been indicated that the State Government would bear 25 per cent of the share. Unfortunately New Delhi remained silent."
Tripura's public works department and Finance Minister Badal Chowdhury said that 653 km of the state's 856 km border with Bangladesh has been fenced.
"Fencing work in about 83 km is on and Rs 10.38 billion has been spent so far for the work aimed at checking the movement of terrorsits, trans-border criminals and infiltration from across the border," the minister said.
"The cost of one km fencing is around Rs 15.90 million," he added.
The Union Home Ministry had earmarked Rs 11.19 billion for construction of 736 km fencing, 815 km road and 2,336 metre bridges along Tripura's border with Bangladesh to effectively guard the border.