Aizawl: The Centre has approved an amount of Rs 350 crore for the ninth phase of Bru repatriation from six relief camps of neighbouring Tripura, a senior home department official said. The approval came during a Joint Monitoring Group meeting on Bru repatriation, chaired by the special secretary (internal security), Ministry of Home Affairs, AP Maheswari, in Delhi on Friday, Mizoram home secretary Lalbiakzama said. The state had last month identified 4,447 Bru families for the exercise, scheduled to begin on 1 October, he said.
“The approved amount of Rs 350 crore would cover transportation and rehabilitation package expenses, which includes Rs 5,000 per month for each resettled Bru family in Mizoram and free ration for two years,” Lalbiakzama, who represented the state in the meeting, told a news agency over the phone.
Among others who attended Friday’s meeting were senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, representatives of home departments of Tripura and Mizoram and organisations representing Brus.
The Bru community, also referred to as the Reang people, is among the 21 Scheduled Tribes in the country.
Thousands of Brus had fled to Tripura in 1997 in the wake of a communal tension triggered by the killing of a forest guard by militants inside Dampa Tiger Reserve.
The Centre and the governments of Mizoram and Tripura have made multiple attempts since 2009 to repatriate the Brus to their home state, but many refused to return, citing inadequate rehabilitation package.
The government has promised to deposit Rs 4 lakh in the bank account of every repatriated family. It has also assured a sum of Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance, free ration and Rs 5,000 for other expenses for two years.
The first attempt to repatriate the Brus in November 2009 had fizzled out following the murder of a Mizo youth at Bungthuam village in Mamit district. The murder had also triggered a fresh wave of exodus.