181 former rebels lay down sophisticated weapons, ammunitions at Haflong

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday attended the ceremonial laying down of weapons by former cadres of Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA), an armed rebel group that was once active in the Dima Hasao region and which had signed a peace agreement with the Centre and the State government last April.

A total of 181 former cadres today laid down their arms at the event held at the District Sports Association ground in Haflong. An amount of Rs 4 lakh each as financial grant in the form of fixed deposits has been made towards each of the 181 cadres.

Sarma termed the laying of weapons by the former members of DNLA a historic moment for Dima Hasao’s forward march towards all-round prosperity and progress.

Chief Minister Sarma credited members of Dimasa civil society groups, intellectuals and prominent public figures for playing the role of mediators in bringing DNLA to the negotiating table in 2021. The Chief Minister exuded confidence the former rebels would make the best use of the financial grant and become financially self-reliant in days to come.

Stating that a record number of insurgents returned to the mainstream in the past two and half years of his tenure as Chief Minister, Sarma expressed hope the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) too would one day drop guns and work towards growth and development of Assam.

Sarma said Dima Hasao had lots of potential for growth and progress on all fronts and that the current dispensation in the State has been working towards ensuring these potential are harnessed in the most efficient manner. He said an amount of Rs 6,000 crore shall be spent for improve of road infrastructure in the region. He further added that profit from limestone mining, shall be shared with the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council. He also declared that if the Dima Hasao Autonomous Council is able to provide the State government with 100 bighas of land in and around Haflong town, the government would build a medical college there.

Sarma today also inaugurated a number of developmental and social projects in the Dima Hasao district. These are the Eklavya Model Residential School at Ardaopur built at a cost of Rs 23 crore, a Model Degree College at Hatikhali built at a project cost of Rs 12 crore, a Polytechnic Institute Choto Wapoo built a cost of Rs 7 crore and the Centre for Ethnic Community Cultural Practice at Haflong costing around Ra 10 crore. These apart, he launched a Jal Jeevan Mission projects costing Rs 3 crore.

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Bikash Singh