Sinlung /
02 November 2012

Illegal Village On Indo-Myanmar Border To Be Demolished

Aizawl, Nov 2 : Several men from Vaphai village in Mizoram's Champhai district today tried to proceed to Saikhumphai Bawk to demolish the illegal settlement near the Myanmar border as their deadline ended on October 31.

The villagers, however, pulled back after the district officials pleaded them to wait for this week to evacuate the settlement.

"We decided to pull back after the district officials assured us that the illegal settlement would be wiped out during this week," said Vaphai joint action committee chairman C Zakanglova. All men in the village, 18 to 60 years, took part in the proposed community works to demolish the settlement today.

The district administration had deployed heavy police troops at Vaphai and Saikhumphai Bawk to avert any eventuality. Champhai district deputy commissioner Lalthangpuia Sailo said over phone that he would go to Vaphai tomorrow to hold talks with the Vaphai local leaders.

He said the rehabilitation package of Rs 18 lakh for the families to be relocated to Vaphai has been sanctioned by the local administration department. "Relocating an entire village is a gigantic task that cannot be completed in a day or two," he said.

However, 11 villages in Saikhumphai Bawk, who were said to be Myanmarese nationals, were evicted by the police under the witness of the concerned Khawbung block development officer. They were sent back to Myanmar, the sources said.

According to Vaphai village council sources, there are 64 families in the illegal settlement of which only five are bonafide Indian citizens, the remaining 59 families being Myanmar origins. At least 99 Myanmarese foreigners are said to have possessed Indian electoral IDs with the help of "vote-hungry" politicians.

Owing to its strategic location and Myanmarese domination, the settlement has turned into a hub of cross-border crimes like gun running, drug smuggling and a haven for Myanmar-based militants, the JAC chairman said. "Besides these, Myanmar security forces occasionally crossed into Indian border and terrorised the people," he said.

The illegal village is surrounded by 150 hectares of paddy fields dubbed as "granary of Vaphai." The settlement came into existence in 1987 when four farmers from Vaphai built farm houses as there was no proper connecting the paddy fields to Vaphai, a 10-km distance, by that time.

The Indian farmers used to employ manual labourers from the Myanmar side of the border. These Myanmarese labourers started to settle and gradually increased in number. The resettlement package included four bundles of GI sheets and plot of land for each family at the nearby Vaphai village and free transportation of construction materials.

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