Border minister Siddique Ahmed, made his maiden visit to Garbhanga village on Friday, in the Garbhanga Reserve Forest that is just 18 Kms from Lokhra near the national highway. The visit of the minister has given some light of hope to people living in the Assam-Meghalaya border where localities are deprived of proper medical facilities, electricity, schools and roads. The sad part of the story is that the neighbouring village on the Meghalay side has better ameneties such as electricity and schools. Due to the deprivation of the Assam Government and development programmes there are villages where Meghalay govt. has set up schools and provided water supply. Thus Assam losing its own land. The visit of the Minister is coinciding at times when the border dispute between two states have been raised again and again, specially in Meghalaya assembly. Regarding land dispute, the Minister pointed that Assam is facing the land problem with all the neighbouring states like Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram since once it was a one state. Many border settelment cases are now in the court, added the Minister.
During the public meeting in the village, people openly spoke about the their grivances, and criticised the political parties that comes to their village only during the election. The villagers, mostly belonging to Karbi community have been residing in the these areas from centuries, but till today they do not possess any land documents. The villagers in their memorendum subbmited to the minister demanded land pttas, roads, medical facilities and other basic amenities. It is also mentioned their feelings as to why the villagers sometimes feel like going with Meghalaya for availing better facilities.
The villagers have got assurance of Rs.75 lacs for immideate development of the main road connecting Garbhanga village to Lokhra, besides promise to help in other areas, like setting up of a co-operative shop.
In Garbhanaga reserve forest there are around 14 tribal villages, that has a population of around 12,000 including 7000 voters. The villages in Assam-Meghalaya borders are always in the receiving ends. Besides large numbers of trees being felled and smuggled to Meghalaya that is destroying the forest cover.