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Murkongselek-Pasighat project hits roadblock

By Prafulla Kaman
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JONAI, Sept 14 � The much-hyped broadgauge (BG) railway line linking Pasighat with upper parts of Arunachal Pradesh districts is facing opposition from the local people as the project has adversely affected people in East Siang district.

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) conducted a survey for construction of the BG track linking Murkongselek and the historical Pasighat town of Arunachal Pradesh during September 2011. The project engineer of the extended BG railway project during November last year informed that they would execute the work as per the new alignment. But the work, which was scheduled to be complete early last year, has not yet started due to stiff opposition by the local people.

Earlier, the people of Arunachal Pradesh vehemently opposed the passing of the proposed railway line through the proposed alignment and urged the railway authority to construct the BG railway line as per the survey conducted in 1968 and 1974.

It is said that the common people have no complaints about execution of the project along the routes indicated in the earlier years.

The people said that the proposed railway line is likely to affect hundreds of poor farmers of East Siang district. The latest survey for construction of the BG railway line carried out by NF Railway covers a large portion of horticulture gardens belonging to indigenous farmers of the district, which when implemented, would render many farmers landless.

In the meantime, the Railway Affected Land Owners� Committee (RALOC) of Arunachal Pradesh has already conducted a series of meetings during the last two years and discussed the impact of the proposed railway plan and discussed about the volume of compensation against their acquisitioned land. They also alleged that the authority has fixed the land value for payment of compensation at the minimal rate, which they feel too inadequate to compensate the loss of their cropland and other properties.

In the subsequent period, several social organisations, besides Government employees, Bar Association members and doctors� association recently assembled at a consultative meeting to discuss the railway line-laying issue. A section among the assembled people voiced their opposition against the railway connectivity to Pasighat, citing various reasons like influx of illegal migrants, impact of Inner Line Pass (ILP) mechanism and probable change in the demographic pattern in the region.

On the other hand, some Government officers and elected leaders of the district supported the railway project and opined that railway is the cheapest means of transport and is vital for national security and industrial development of the local people. Rail services on the Rangiya-Murkongselek route has been suspended for an indefinite period due to the construction works.

The extended BG railway line running from Mukongselek (Assam) is supposed to be proceeding on to Roing, Parsuramkund, Rupai, Anjaw and other places along the Indo-China border.

The Rangiya-Murkongselek railway route came up in 1962 during the Chinese Aggression for transportation and mobilisation of security forces to Arunachal Pradesh. The metregauge railway line passing along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary was not spruced up even after more than four decades and the undue delay in gauge conversion work evoked massive resentment from the people of both the neighbouring States. But in the latest development, the NFR authority has developed the BG track along the route and finally extended it upto the upper parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

The BG conversion project was one of the two major rail projects in Assam announced by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during 2010.

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Murkongselek-Pasighat project hits roadblock

JONAI, Sept 14 � The much-hyped broadgauge (BG) railway line linking Pasighat with upper parts of Arunachal Pradesh districts is facing opposition from the local people as the project has adversely affected people in East Siang district.

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) conducted a survey for construction of the BG track linking Murkongselek and the historical Pasighat town of Arunachal Pradesh during September 2011. The project engineer of the extended BG railway project during November last year informed that they would execute the work as per the new alignment. But the work, which was scheduled to be complete early last year, has not yet started due to stiff opposition by the local people.

Earlier, the people of Arunachal Pradesh vehemently opposed the passing of the proposed railway line through the proposed alignment and urged the railway authority to construct the BG railway line as per the survey conducted in 1968 and 1974.

It is said that the common people have no complaints about execution of the project along the routes indicated in the earlier years.

The people said that the proposed railway line is likely to affect hundreds of poor farmers of East Siang district. The latest survey for construction of the BG railway line carried out by NF Railway covers a large portion of horticulture gardens belonging to indigenous farmers of the district, which when implemented, would render many farmers landless.

In the meantime, the Railway Affected Land Owners� Committee (RALOC) of Arunachal Pradesh has already conducted a series of meetings during the last two years and discussed the impact of the proposed railway plan and discussed about the volume of compensation against their acquisitioned land. They also alleged that the authority has fixed the land value for payment of compensation at the minimal rate, which they feel too inadequate to compensate the loss of their cropland and other properties.

In the subsequent period, several social organisations, besides Government employees, Bar Association members and doctors� association recently assembled at a consultative meeting to discuss the railway line-laying issue. A section among the assembled people voiced their opposition against the railway connectivity to Pasighat, citing various reasons like influx of illegal migrants, impact of Inner Line Pass (ILP) mechanism and probable change in the demographic pattern in the region.

On the other hand, some Government officers and elected leaders of the district supported the railway project and opined that railway is the cheapest means of transport and is vital for national security and industrial development of the local people. Rail services on the Rangiya-Murkongselek route has been suspended for an indefinite period due to the construction works.

The extended BG railway line running from Mukongselek (Assam) is supposed to be proceeding on to Roing, Parsuramkund, Rupai, Anjaw and other places along the Indo-China border.

The Rangiya-Murkongselek railway route came up in 1962 during the Chinese Aggression for transportation and mobilisation of security forces to Arunachal Pradesh. The metregauge railway line passing along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary was not spruced up even after more than four decades and the undue delay in gauge conversion work evoked massive resentment from the people of both the neighbouring States. But in the latest development, the NFR authority has developed the BG track along the route and finally extended it upto the upper parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

The BG conversion project was one of the two major rail projects in Assam announced by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during 2010.