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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NH Expansion May Face Trouble Following Land Donors’ Agitation in Malda

MALDA, 6 DEC:  If the land policy of the state government is already taking toll in industrialization, the expansion of highway too ran into fresh trouble. Hundreds of villagers of Rasiladaha today came to district Land Revenue Officer with the records of their lands demanding not to give up their lands for expansion of National Highway-34. “In no way shall we leave our lands”, they vowed.

It may be recalled that as a part of expanding National Highway, a bypass is being made on Malda. The bypass road would run over the river Mahananda and Old Malda to avoid the English Bazaar town. Accordingly, pillars are being made on the river. Last evening a man introduced himself as an worker under Construction firm, came at Rasiladaha of Old Malda and asked the inhabitants to leave their lands as a pillar would be constructed on their land.

NH-34 expansion work under progress in Malda

As many 40 families who have been living on this 92 decimal of land, were shell shocked. Mostly, fishermen and daily labourers, these people were also asked to meet the Land department. They would be served notice from the department on Monday next, as learnt.

Agitated villagers came to district administration today with the records of their lands. Nishit Karmakar, Gita Das, Ajit Basak and others who came to the administration today, said that they had been living there for years. “We have records of land. Still we are asked to leave as the lands were not ours. How could we give up our land without proper compensation?” said Mr Basak. They also alleged that for last few days, agents of land were frequenting in this area. They are pressing us to leave the land with meager money or threatening us.           

Although the land department did not want to speak anything, local Congress MLA Arjun Halder stood beside them, “It is true that there are some anomalies in their land records. Many of these villagers were cheated as records of the land did not belong to them despite they handed over the money. The same land was sold again and again. But in no way shall they be removed from the land without adequate compensation.”  

Tourism minister, Krishnendu Choudhury too said, “It is the policy of our government not to take land forcibly. We’ll hand over the compensation met by NHAI while acquiring land.  Perhaps some land agents are active to make use of the innocence of the villagers.”

On the other hand National Highway Authorities of Malda Division also conceded that land dispute played the spoilsport in the project of expansion of National Highway. It is felt that the project could not be completed within the nine months left for its schedule.

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