Tripura: Opposition MLAs accuse Forest Minister of land grabbing, demand probe
Members of the Opposition on Thursday accused Forest Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia of land grabbing and demanded an investigation into the alleged land scam.
The charges were levelled against the minister by Opposition members during the ongoing budget session of the Tripura Legislative Assembly on March 25.
Mevar Kumar Jamatia, also the general secretary of the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), is a legislator from the Asharambarai constituency under the Khowai district. He is also the Minister in charge of Tribal Welfare.
The House was adjourned temporarily over 'serious' charges of land grabbing by the minister.
Opposition MLAs alleged that Jamatia had grabbed large tracts of government land under the Forest Department "illegally".
The Opposition members stepped out of their chairs and shouted slogans demanding an investigation and clarification from the Chief Minister on this issue.
In his reply, Jamatia said he would resign from the cabinet if they (Opposition MLAs) can prove that he has a connection with the land scam.
Revenue Minister NC Debbarma came to Jamatia's rescue and asserted that no such thing had happened.
However, the Opposition refused to accept his reply and continued to disrupt the proceedings prompting Speaker Rebati Mohan Das to adjourn the House for ten minutes.
When the House resumed, Opposition MLAs again raised the issue and shouted slogans.
Later, CPI(M) MLAs -- Badal Choudhury and Tapan Chakraborty held a press conference at their office in the State Assembly on Thursday and demanded an immediate probe against the minister.
Choudhury said that under the Forest Rights Act, forest lands are leased to poor tribal families.
"There is a provision in the law to give land to those who have no land and no permanent source of income. Applying this law, Forest Minister Mevar Jamatia had demanded land in the forest area of the Khowai district," he alleged.
He added that the district magistrate of Khowai had sent an application to the Revenue Office, saying that the land should be given to the minister in accordance with the appropriate law.
"Mevar Jamatia is not entitled to this land at all. Because he has land, he is not landless. The manner in which the land was given to the minister is illegal and, it is a kind of scam," Choudhury said.
Reacting to NC Debbarma's statement, the CPI(M) legislator said Debbarma is trying to save his team member.
Meanwhile, Tapan Chakraborty said that it is a disgrace for the entire cabinet.
"A minister is embroiled in a scandal. The Chief Minister should investigate the matter now," he said.
(Edited by Ibankyntiew Mawrie)