NEW DELHI, Jan 16: The Centre today announced resolution of the Bru settlement problem, with the government of Tripura agreeing to settle 30,000 refugees. A package of Rs 600 crore was given to Tripura government for settling 5300 refugees. Flanked by Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb, Chief Minister of Mizoram Zoramthanga, chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) Himanta Biswa Sarma, former Tripura PCC chief Pradyut Dev Barman, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that a 25-year-old problem has been resolved. 

An agreement to this effect was signed by the representatives of various Bru civil society groups and officials of the Tripura government in presence of officials of the Mizoram government. “We are solving this problem and the Tripura government will settle them permanently,” said Shah. The package includes grant of a plot of land to each family, while government will make a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh for two years, besides Rs 5000 will be paid monthly for two years. Tripura government will provide the land, and Rs 1.5 lakh for construction of houses, free ration for two years, announced Shah. However, at least 328 families who have shifted to Mizoram will not be allowed to return to Tripura though the refugees now living there will have the option of settling down in Mizoram. 

The Bru refugees will be settled in clusters depending on availability of land, said Shah. The Brus, who are also known as Reang, will enjoy voting rights in Tripura and would retain their Schedule Tribe status in the State. “With this the Bru refugee problem will be settled permanently,” said Shah. “We are solving the problems of Northeast one by one because of the initiatives of the Prime Minister,” said the Union Home Minister. The Reang people fled Mizoram because of ethnic clashes between the Nagas and the Mizos in 1997 and started living in Tripura. 

On July 3, 2018, a similar agreement was clinched between Tripura and Mizoram but only 328 families opted to shift to Mizoram making the agreement redundant. Shah said that though the package would be implemented by Tripura government, Centre would keep track of its progress. These people were living in inhuman conditions, he added. Describing the event as a major achievement, the Union Home Minister further referred to the surrender by 28 cadres of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) (SD) with 50 automatic weapons, describing it as another significant development. 

Stating that the agreement would send across a good message, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga said that he was grateful to the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is because of the Centre’s initiative that such a solution has become possible. The NEDA chairman said that the refugees would be settled in more than one location. -Assam Tribune

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