From Our Special Correspondent
SILCHAR, February 23: Though the completion of Silchar-Lumding BG is now a matter of time, there still prevails uncertainty over the East-West Corridor that will connect the valley of Barak with Saurashtra. The Youth Front of the All Cachar-Karimganj-Hailakandi Students’ Association (ACKHSA) has squarely blamed the state government of Assam for its indifferent attitude towards the important tiol project. According to Pik Bhattacharjee, secretary of the Youth Front, this is an example of the non-cooperation, negligence and lame excuses in acquisition of the land.
This single factor has created all the obstacles in the expeditious completion of the Mahasadak. The members of the Youth Front recently met the authorities of tiol Highway Authority of India (NHAI) here in order to get relevant information on the project and were able to apprise themselves of the reality of the situation. The NHAI despite repeated approaches to the state government for handing over 95 hectares of land falling under Borail Wild Life Sanctuary from Balachhera to Detekchhera. These hectares of land are located in the three extreme corners of the Sanctuary.
Quite strangely, NHAI source said the state government as per its Cabinet decision had set the proposal for NOC only for 24 hectares in October 2014. It is yet to give clearance for the remaining 71 hectares of land. The standing rules of the forest department is that for obtaining necessary clearance for land in any sanctuary, the state government will have to take NOC from the tiol Wild Life Preservation Board. Only after that, the process for acquisition of land in any sanctuary could be started.
In order to have an on the spot study of the problem, a delegation of the Youth Front visited the 31 km stretch of Borail Wild Life Sanctuary. It was observed that no work by the NHAI could be taken up on the said length of road and that had become a stumbling block in the way of Mahasadak. The delegation could also notice the signboards on which were written ‘proposed Borail Wild Life Sanctuary’ just on the entrance of the forested area. Also came to their notice the pillars engraved with Borail Reserve Forest indicating the border lines.
But, there was no trace of any work by the state government of Assam for the acquisition of the land. Neither could any plausible explation be given by the forest department as alleged by the Youth Front members. On the other hand, it could be seen by the members that work was going on war-footing on the 64 km of the four lane Corridor from Detekchhera to Maibong. And the work on the 34 km of the Corridor from the zero point of Silchar to Balachhera was almost complete. The delegation consisted of Rajib Shome, advisor, Jhalak Deb, president, Sanju Dey, vice-president, and other members who included Sajal Debroy, Md. Manik Ahmed Barlaskar, Md. Khairul Alam Mazumder, general secretary. The Youth Front of ACKHSA has described it as a ‘red-tapism’ of Dispur and yet another glaring example of the anti-Barak attitude of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. The Front has cautioned that if the Chief Minister and his Forest Minister do not approve the acquisition of land in the Sanctuary, it would be forced to launch a long drawn agitation to articulate the grievances of the people of the land locked region of Barak Valley.