SIVASAGAR, March 13 - The people who have been affected by the four-lane project of NH-37 in Sivasagar district have demanded adequate compensation for the demolition of their roadside residential houses, shops, schools, naamghars, masjids, health centres etc. These people have threatened to launch a series of agitations in a democratic manner to compel the authorities to provide them compensation as per the provision of the �Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013�. They also threatened to stage a road blockade near Darika Bridge on NH-37 on Monday and halt the construction work of the four-lane roads project in the coming days.
At a meeting here at the Sankardev Shishu Niketan, Betbari recently, the affected villagers under the banner of 37 No. Rashtriya Ghai Pathar Nirmanat Khyatigrastha Lukor Surakhya Samiti said that about 800 residents, shopkeepers and other establishments on both sides of the NH-37 were excluded from the list of people eligible for receiving compensation.
�Government officials, who were assigned the task of surveying and preparing lists for adequate compensation for those affected from the four-laning work of NH-37 from Jhanji to Demow, did not include the roadside residents, shopkeepers and other establishments like naamghars, masjids, etc. Asked about the reason for exclusion, most of the Government officials did not respond to us and even said that they were not aware of the situation,� said Gakul Chetia, secretary of the 37 No. Rashtriya Ghai Pathar Nirmanat Khyatigrastha Lukor Surakhya Samiti.
He said that there are enough provisions for paying compensation, even to the tenants of a particular area, during the process of land acquisition by any Government for construction. According to the organisation, nearly 800 residents and owners of roadside shops and other establishments will lose their daily income, once the demolition process begins on both sides of the NH-37. They said that most of them are yet to return money to many banks, which they got as loans under various government schemes for employment and livelihood programmes.
�The affected villagers are residing by the side of NH-37 for more than 25 to 35 years including on government land attached to their patta land by constructing residential premises, business establishments, shops, etc., which are their sole residential premises and sole earning source. As such they are entitled to compensation in the event of eviction from the land alongwith the valuable properties which are being occupied for more than 25 to 35 years,� Chetia said .
The Samiti held responsible Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Transport (Surface), Highway, etc., Govt. of India, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the State Government, the district administration and the authorities of National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) for their inattention towards the repeated memoranda which were submitted by the Samiti at several times to apprise them of the affected villagers situation. The Samiti alleged that the district administration at the time of acquisition of their lands did not go by the Acts of the Land Law and as such until fair compensation is not paid to them as per the present rules, the construction work would not begin.
Walif Ahmed, vice-president, 37 No. Rashtriya Ghai Pathar Nirmanat Khyatigrastha Lukor Surakhya Samiti was also present on the occasion.