Around 2,000 Bru families, who were rehabilitated in Tripura’s Dhalai district, as part of an agreement three years back, have not been paid monthly stipend for the past one year putting them in distress, a leader of the settlers claimed.
In a letter to District Magistrate SS Jaiswal, Bruhapara settlement area assistant in-charge Karanjoy Reang said, the internally displaced tribal people who had to flee their home state Mizoram due to ethnic conflicts have not received the allowance since October 2022.
A senior state government official said the stipend is given to the Brus by the Centre and the delay could be due to some technical problems.
“The delay in obtaining the monthly cash assistance will put the Bru families in great financial difficulty. In this context, I request you to kindly take the necessary steps to see that they can get cash assistance,” Reang’s letter to the district magistrate read.
According to the agreement, each of a total of 6,953 Bru family is eligible to get a monthly stipend of Rs 5,000 for two years and certain other facilities including a plot of land, Rs 1.5 lakh for constructing a house on it and a one-time allowance of Rs 4 lakh.
The pact was signed by representatives of the Brus, the central, Tripura and Mizoram governments in New Delhi in January 2020.
“The disbursement of monthly allowance is irregular, leading to a difficult situation for the Bru inmates who are permanently settled in their locations. We had taken up the matter with the district authorities but there is no change yet,” Bruno Msha, the general secretary of Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples’ Forum (MBDPF) told PTI over phone.
When contacted, Paramananda Sarkar Banerjee, OSD to the CM, said the stipend to the Bru settlers is directly given by the Centre.
“The release of stipend is not pending. If anything has happened, it might be because of some technical faults as the payment is made digitally,” he told PTI.
Msha who lives in Ashapara Bru settlement in North Tripura’s Kanchapur subdivision also alleged that despite assurance, not each family got land.
Over 600 Bru families, out of 6,953, are “yet to get resettled in new areas because of changing locations in Dhalai and North Tripura districts”, Msha, who is among the signatories of the agreement, claimed.
Thousands of the Bru tribal people have been living in relief camps in Kanchanpur and Panisagar sub-divisions since 1997.
They had fled their homeland Mizoram to reach the neighbouring state because of ethnic clashes.
By now, their number has risen to over 30,000.
The Bru issue started in September 1997, following demands of a separate autonomous district council by carving out areas of western Mizoram adjoining Bangladesh and Tripura.
A large number of Bru people fled from Mizoram to Tripura as ethnic clashes broke out.
The situation was aggravated by the murder of a forest guard by Bru National Liberation Front insurgents on October 21 that year.
The Centre, along with the governments of Tripura and Mizoram, had tried several times to repatriate them to their home state, with little success.
The first such attempt was made in November 2009 and the last one in 2019.
Many Bru families had refused to return to Mizoram, citing security concerns and inadequate rehabilitation packages.
Some others had also sought a separate autonomous council for the community.
However, the January 2020 agreement has allowed these tribal people to permanently settle in Tripura.