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Affected families cry foul on compensation

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  31 Jan 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Anomalies in land acquisition for NH-52(B) in Dibrugarh

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Jan 30: Around 2,000 families of as many as 52 villages affected by the construction of NH-52(B) in Dibrugarh district alleged sheer discrimition against them by Dibrugarh district administration and the government in payment of compensation for the land acquired and other damage done.

Talking to newsmen in the Guwahati today, Balindra Saikia, a member of the steering committee of the NH-52(B) Kshatigrastha Suraksha Samitir Joutha Mancha, Dibrugarh-Sivasagar district, said: “The land acquisition for the construction of tiol Highway should have been under the tiol Highway Act, 1956. Under this Act, the gazette notification was issued on May 16, 2008. However, when it comes to pay compensation to the affected families, they took the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Act of 1956 states that an affected person should be given at least one-tenth of the cost of the land as compensation.”

Saikia said: “This is not all. The government used two different yardsticks – one for the affected people of Dibrugarh and the other for those of Sivasagar. While the compensation of land was given at the rate of Rs 2 lakh, Rs 5 lakh and Rs 8 lakh per bigha in Sivasagar district; the affected people at Banglabari and Keseruguri in Dibrugarh district were compensated at only Rs 17,000 per bigha. The highest compensation in Dibrugarh district is at Rs 2 lakh per bigha against Rs 8 lakh in Sivasagar. This is not all. The compensation paid in Dibrugarh against each sapling of tea is Rs 3, that of a middle-size one at Rs 30 and an adult plant at Rs 50. This is against the fact that the cost of nurturing a sapling of tea is Rs 50. In Dibrugarh, the compensation for each sapling of betel nut plant is Rs 40, a small-sized plant at Rs 400, middle-sized one at Rs 500 and adult one at Rs 600 against Rs 3,400 for each adult one and Rs 1,700 for a small one in Sonitpur district. Why is this discrimition? In this connection, we’ve sent a letter to the Chief Secretary, Assam, but the letter hasn’t been responded as yet. What’s even more surprising is that in Dibrugarh the cropped lands have been shown as not cropped by the surveyors, leading to no payment of compensation for crops (rice).”

Saikia said: “It’s because of our agitation against the discrimition against us, the works of the highway have been halted. The issue was talked about at various meetings with the revenue circle officer, the deputy commissioner, upper Assam Commissioner, commission of tiol Highway Department, additiol chief secretary, the Chief Secretary, but to little avail due to bureaucratic red tape and negligence on the part of the government. The matter now is sub-judice with a case in this connection being heard by the Gauhati High Court. However, the governments at Dispur and New Delhi don’t show their good will in the court also. The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is yet to submit its affidavit in the case. A memorandum each was sent to Prime Minister rendra Modi and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on October 14, 2014, but to little avail. On December 6, 2015 we did announce an agitation to gherao the residence of Union minister Sarbanda Sonowal to know his stand on the issue. We had to withdraw the agitation following a written request from Sonowal that he would sit with us on the issue, and accordingly we had talks with him on December 10 last year. He assured us of making the matter known to the Centre. Forty days have already elapsed, but nothing tangible has occurred as yet. Even before becoming the Chief Minister, he has started lying like Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. MP Rameswar Teli also assured us of raising the issue on the floor of the Parliament, but he didn’t do so. We have sent a letter to State Forest Minister Etua Munda to discuss the issue on the floor of the House during the coming Assembly session, failing which we’re going to gherao the Moran residence of Munda on February 1.”

They have also demanded of Prime Minister rendra Modi to let them know his stance on the memorandum written sent to him during his proposed visit to Lepetkota in Dibrugarh on February 5 next.

Saikia also said that they had asked the PMO on their memorandum sent to the PMO. The PMO made them known that the RTI application has been rejected as it is written in Assamese. According to the PMO, it should have been written either in English or Hindi as the PMO is located in Delhi.

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