Guwahati, Oct 20: The Assam government Saturday released the much-hyped White Paper on the illegal iens’ issue and claimed that the influx has declined since 1991.
The Congress government led by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi announced the release of the White Paper on the illegal influx from Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries after the state witnessed widespread protests over the issue after riots between Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslim settlers in Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD) July killed over 100 civilians and rendered over 450,000 people displaced.
Releasing the White Paper, an official document, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also said that there was large scale migration to Assam between 1911 to 1971. He said that the figures for migration into Assam was higher than all-India figures. “However, the influx has declined in the state since 1991,” Gogoi told media persons Saturday.
“The migration from other places to Assam was due to mainly economic reasons – the migrants came here to work in tea plantations, the extension of the railway network, and after the discovery of oil and coal,” he said, adding that over four lakh cases had been registered so far under the Foreigners’ Act.
“The tribunals under the Foreigners’ Act have so far declared 61,774 as foreigners, out of which only 2,442 persons could so far be deported,” Gogoi said, admitting that the rate of deportation is poor.
“The population growth in Assam was alarming between 1911 and 1971. However, it is not as alarming now as in the past,” he said, reminding his audience that unemployment was a bigger problem in the state than the influx of foreigners.
The Assam chief minister said that the steps taken by his government compared well with those taken by the governments of neighbouring states. “In Assam, only 19.55 km of the international land border is unfenced till date, which indicates that 93 percent of the land border has already been fenced,” he said.
“In West Bengal, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, large areas are unfenced,” Gogoi pointed out.
Gogoi also announced that the state would start the process for giving voters identity cards after the completion of the final electoral roll. A draft electoral roll was published Friday.
Assam does not have voter identity cards as there was opposition to it from several quarters.
Gogoi slammed opposition parties like the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the BJP for raking up the foreigners issue before elections.