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Association

The Refugee Rehabilitation Officers' Association is a 44 years’ old Registered Organisation of all categories R R Officers of the Refugee Relief & Rehabilitation Department, Government of West Bengal. Right from the base  level Departmental  Officers such as Rehabilitation Officers (R.O) to the senior officers like the Deputy Director (Camps & Homes) and  Special Officer (Production) are its  members. This  Association caters to the well being of its members as far as possible and  extends  its co-operation  to  the  Government in the R. R. & R. Department as & when  necessary

and to the  society in times of  emergencies-within its limited human  and financial resource.

Refugees have settled in all districts of West Bengal, excepting Purulia. Accordingly,  RR Officers have  been in all these District/Sub-Divisional RR Offices. The District Rehabilitation Officers and the Sub-Divisional Relief & Rehabilitation Officers remain in charge of the District and the  Sub-Divisional RR Offices,  while  the Rehabilitation Officers serve in all RR Offices  and  play the pivotal role  in RR  work.

Public  welfare,  social  accountability and efficiency of  the administration are truly reflected  by the duties and functions discharged,  responsibilities shouldered and jurisdiction covered by all the RR Officers –right from the initial rank  of R.O. to  the highest rank of Dy. Director/Spl.  Officer(P).

The history of refugee rehabilitation in West Bengal shows  how  the RR  Officers  shouldered the burden in different spells, starting from 1948 to 1963 for the settlement  of  the  displaced  persons of former East  Bengal, from 1964 to 1969 for new migrant families and  during 1970-’71-for  the  last exodus of  Bangladeshi evacuees, which became a national issue.

The RR Officers have been all along engaged  in  ensuring socio-economic welfare/rehabilitation for  the refugees within the framework of Government Orders and  circulars-issued  from  time  to time. Besides, the RR  Officers arrange cultural programme at regular intervals and a Souvenir named “RHITI” is published on this occasion-which shows their cultural attitude simultaneously with their commitment towards rehabilitating the eligible refugees.

Though it is disheartening to mention, we cannot  hide that the  pay scales  of all categories of  Officers  are not in keeping with the duties  and responsibilities shouldered by the RR Officers in spite of  submission of all documents in support of  our claim for  higher pay scales and several  deputation-both before  the Department and  the previous Pay Commissions.

 But we  are  thankful to the 5th State Pay Commission that it  has, at last,  accepted a  major part of  our long pending legitimate demands  and some positive recommendations towards enhancing promotional scopes have been  made.

Many of our Officers have  since  retired without  having ever  heard of even such a prospect! However, we are hopeful that Government would kindly accept the reco mendations of the 5th State  Pay  commission soon and  issue necessary orders accordingly.

PRELUDE
The influx of refugees from erstwhile East Pakistan due to the partition of the country was a major crisis in Indian History. This influx occurred in a large scale during the period from October 1946 to March 1958 and subsequently from January 1964 to 25th March 1971 with a nomenclature of ‘’ Old Migrant ’’ and ‘’ New Migrant ‘’ respectively.

An estimated figure of such displaced person was 80 lakhs as on 1981 as per R.R.Committee report.

A vat no. of refugee families took shelter in various transit camps and thereafter they were shifted to Camps/Homes under this Department.

At present, about 503 no. of refugees are residing in eight (8) Camps/Homes and they are waiting for permanent rehabilitation.

Thousands acres of land were acquired for the purpose for the rehabilitation of them in rural and urban areas. Financial assistance was also provided for construction of house, purchasing of Homestead Plots, running of small trade. Educational , Medical and training-cum- employment facilities were also provided to these displaced persons.

Beside the estimated refugee families, thousands of refugee families are still living in about 700 left out unapproved squatters’ colonies throughout the West Bengal. These colonies are required to be surveyed and the refugee families residing therein should be taken under the purview of rehabilitation as per the policy of the Govt. of India as well as the State Govt.

The Infrastructure Development for providing the basic civic amenities to the refugee settlers are required to be done for the colonies where no such work is done.

The physical and economic rehabilitation of all refugee families, settled in West Bengal, are the accepted liabilities of the Central Govt. As it is a national problem, it cannot be denied by the Govt. of India.

The refugee families who came to India before 1971 settled in unapproved squatters’ colonies including 998 Gr. Of Colonies, are facing acute difficulties for want of the right & title over there occupied land. In spite of being refugees from East Pakistan they are still living without ownership of their respective land.

Giving rehabilitation is an enormous task beyond the capacity of the State govt. and such crisis can only be solved with the approval and financial assistance from the Govt. of India.

After the laps 66 years of Independence of India, the refugee rehabilitation work in West Bengal should not be delayed anymore and all the pending works should be assessed and completed as early as possible.

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