Centre to give around Rs 600 crore to end Bru-Reang refugee crisis

New Delhi [India], Jan 16 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday presided over the signing of an agreement between the Central government, Governments of Tripura and Mizoram and Bru-Reang representatives here to end the 23-year old Bru-Reang refugee crisis.

Briefing the media, Shah said that a permanent solution has been reached to the long-standing issue of rehabilitating thousands of Bru-Reang people in Tripura and they can now look towards a bright future.

He said that under the new agreement around 34,000 Bru refugees will be settled in Tripura and would be aided by the Centre through a package of around Rs 600 crore to help their rehabilitation and all-round development.

The people would get all the rights that normal residents of the states get and they would now be able to enjoy the benefits of social welfare schemes of the Centre and State governments, the minister said.

A Home Ministry release said the "historic agreement" was in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for the progress of the northeast and the empowerment of the people of the region.

It said the since taking office, the Prime Minister has initiated numerous policy-level interventions that have improved infrastructure, connectivity, economic growth, tourism and social development of the region.

The settlement has been reached after detailed discussions by the union government with the state governments of Mizoram and Tripura and the representatives of Bru tribes.

The Home Minister informed that under the new arrangement, each of the displaced families would be given 40x30 sq ft residential plots, in addition to the aid under the earlier agreement - a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh, Rs 5,000 cash per month for two years, free ration for two years and Rs 1.5 lakh aid to build their house.

The government of Tripura would provide the land under this agreement.

Shah mentioned that the northeast was seeing fast-paced development under the leadership of the Prime Minister.

He talked about the recent surrender of 88 armed insurgents of the NLFT (SD) group and their assimilation into the mainstream.

"This major step, along with the Bru-Reang agreement today, is important milestones in bringing fast-paced development to the State of Tripura. Soon lasting peace would be established in the whole of the North East under Prime Minister's leadership," he said.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, NEDA Chairman Himanta Biswa Sarma, TIPRA (The Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance) Chairman Pradyot Kishore Debbarma and representatives of Bru tribes were among those present.

The release said that following ethnic tensions in 1997, around 5,000 families comprising around 30,000 Bru-Reang tribals were forced to flee Mizoram and seek shelter in Tripura. These people were housed in temporary camps at Kanchanpur in North Tripura.

The central government has been making sustained efforts to permanently rehabilitate these refugees since 2010 and has been assisting the two state governments in taking care of the refugees.

Till 2014, 1622 Bru-Reang families returned to Mizoram in different batches.

An agreement was signed between the union government, the two state governments and representatives of Bru-Reang refugees in July 2018 due to which aid given to these families was increased substantially.

Subsequently, 328 families comprising of 1369 individuals returned to Mizoram under the agreement.

There had been a sustained demand of most Bru-Reang families that they may be allowed to settle down in Tripura. (ANI)