The Centre signed a tripartite agreement with representatives of all factions of banned organisation National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) at Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on January 26th, 2020, giving peace a major boost in Assam. It is the third Bodo accord to be signed by the Centre and other stakeholders after 27 years.
As part of the Accord, the Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD) will be renamed as Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) and will have more administrative power. Bodo language will now be an associate official language with Devanagari script in Assam, Assam Finance Minister and NEDA Convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
A financial package of Rs 1500 crore for 3 years will soon be announced by Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the overall development of the Bodoland areas.
The signing of the second Bodo accord in 2003 with the militant group Bodo Liberation Tigers, lead to the formation of a BTC with four districts of Assam – Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baska and Udalguri – called the BTAD. The region is predominantly inhabited by the indigenous Bodo people and other indigenous communities of Assam. The BTC was formed under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution.
Addressing the media, Sarma said that predominantly tribal villages will be included and non-tribal villages will be excluded from the BTR. He also said that the Assam government will set up a Commission for BTR and the representatives All Bodo Students’ Union and present Bodoland Territorial Council members to be part of the commission.
Sarma further informed that an Administrative Staff College, Central University in Barama by the name of Upendra Nath Brahma, Sports Authority of India centres in Udalguri, Baksa and Chirang, industrial policy for BTAD, railway coach factory in BTAD among others would be set up in BTR.
As part of the up-gradation of the BTAD, the number of seats in BTC will be increased from 40 to 60. The Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police will be appointed in BTR after due consultation with BTC leadership.
Sarma also mentioned that a National Sports University, autonomous welfare council for the Bodo people living outside BTAD areas, and a cancer hospital and medical College will be set up in BTR.
Photo credit: Pinterest.com