Ukhrul/Kamjong: Construction of road for expansion of National Highway-202 (Imphal to Ukhrul), starting from Yangangpokpi till Finch Corner is not progressing despite complaints by the stakeholders and assurance from the concerned (Government) authorities.
According to a first-hand information from the affected landowners, the construction of roads to expand cannot be continued in many areas due to the non-payment of compensation and false classification of land list made under the Land Acquisition Act to continue the much needed road construction work.
“The method of data collection was wrong from the first stage as they did not take any concern from the stakeholders. They divided the types of land as per their wish. The land types were classified as Residential, Open Area, Cultivation and Commercial. But the land types were randomly classified. For example, Residential area was classified as an open area. Likewise, many lands were classified in the wrong categories. This disappointed many people. It was a shortcoming from the Village Authorities as well as those people who came and took the survey. Villagers, as a result, intervened and the work discontinued. Upon the villagers complain, an MoU was signed between the concerned authority and assurance was given that it will be rectified,” said one of the affected landowners.
Upon hearing the news of the stoppage of work by the villagers, a Monitoring Committee on Road Construction in Tangkhul Areas (MCORCTA), which is jointly set up by the CSOs, intervened to address the issue.
After hearing from the villagers, the committee also met the Deputy Commissioner of Ukhrul District and the District Head of the working agency, National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL). After which, a joint meeting was held on the November 29, 2021, with all the stakeholders, including representatives from DC’s office, NHIDCL, villagers and a few committee members on behalf of the CSOs at DC’s Chamber in Ukhrul.
After much deliberation, the office of the Deputy Commissioner and NHIDCL assured the villagers present in the meeting that the remaining amount will be sanctioned within 15 days. MCORCTA also insisted to the villagers that the ongoing work shouldn’t be stopped.
“Thereby, the work resumed the following day. However, even after 60 days which is 45 days more than the assured days, land compensation money was not sanctioned to the villagers. Construction of roads for expansion was discontinued as the competent authority did not keep their word,” said Ramreichan Keishing, Secretary, MCORCTA.
Keishing further added, “It’s over four months now, yet there is no response from the concerned authorities. What could be the reason behind this silence? Is it the incompetency of the office or negligence of the office? Is it the insincerity of the working agency? Whatever reason they may have, it’s our earnest appeal to the concerned authority to intervene at the earliest. The suffering of the people (the public) is at its climax as that road, under construction, is the only lifeline for the people of Ukhrul and Kamjong District. The road condition is pathetic even with the little rain. Travel duration usually took only two and half hours from Imphal to Ukhrul but due to the deplorable road condition, it takes 5 hours nowadays. Such conditions put many lives at risk, especially for those who are under medication or in case of a medical emergency.”
Keishing further continued, “The general public view, including the affected villages at present is that the road construction work should not be stopped. The public will be compelled to take up action against the concerned authority, any time. Therefore, we appeal to the responsible authority to look after the people’s plight. The height of negligence from the government may result in numerous undesirable incidents. To avoid such inconveniences and to build good human relations with the community, we request the government or the concerned authority, to look into the matter without any delay but do the needful.”