Allegations of conspiracy against administrative officials by Litan village authority in Ukhrul block have flagged possible mismanagement in the process of compensation for lands acquired in the ongoing expansion work of NH-202 in the district.
Ironically, the disturbing development came amidst the Ukhrul district administration seeking maximum public support and cooperation in the ongoing road construction.
In view of the prevailing discontent over land classification and authentication among the affected landowners, Ukhrul district administration and NHIDCL officials along with affected landowners conducted a joint official survey of the lands being acquired for the construction at Litan and other areas on Saturday.
The survey was attended by DC Joseph Pauline Kamson, SDO Christianhome Huileng, AC Kachamthai, Ukhrul SP Saujanya Singh, SDC Tennyson Khaleng and NHDICL Ukhrul GM John and other officials, along with villagers.
Presenting grievances before the officials during the survey, Litan village Chief Deepak Vashum questioned the rationale behind excluding his village in the compensation process even as a large area of lands measuring 400 meters in his village have been acquired for the ongoing road works.
He contended that no mention of Litan village was found in any of the official orders, except Litan Shareikhong and Monkot Chepu, while adding that he had even written a petition to Ukhrul DC for prompt justice and rectification in the matter.
“From the beginning, we have been apprising and petitioning the authorities concerned but our grievances have not been entertained and ignored. I have not even received any official document inviting my presence in the joint survey and inspection scheduled to be held on July 3. However, the order No. 10/157/2020-REV (U) Pt/0275 mentions all concerned village headmen and my presence is thereby mandated,” Vashum rued.
Responding to the headman’s plea, SDC Tennyson Khaleng said that surveys/verifications have been conducted after receiving the complaints.
“We will issue an order in this connection,” Khaleng said, assuring the aggrieved petitioner of rectifying the land acquisition and compensation in due course.
According to Vashum, Litan is his village and he is the headman of the village. “I have my own patta land. I have my own Douzi bearing No. 36 issued by SDO Ukhrul in 1956 through an Extraordinary Gazette,” he said.
Raising doubt over the exclusion of his village in the compensation, he asked as to why the administrative officials concerned have failed to intimate him or give him a chance to give his voice to the ongoing land acquisition and compensation process, despite his village being recognized as a revenue village by the government.
“There has been a monumental administrative mismanagement concerning Litan village of which I am the bonafide headman. A considerable area of lands in Litan village was affected in the expansion/double-laning of NH 202. I, being the headman, have been paying all the taxes of houses under my village. I have been exercising all my village authority rights. However, it appears, that the headman of Monkot Chepu in collusion with the administrative authority particularly the Revenue Department had already claimed the compensation of land under Litan village,” Vashum pointed out in a memorandum handed over to Ukhrul DC on the same day.
The memorandum pertained to the matters of previous complaint submitted to DC, Ukhrul district on January 18 concerning exclusion of Litan village, and complaint (along with reminders dated 04-06-2021 and 15-06-2021) filed through the portal of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances bearing Registration No. MORTH/E/2021/04703 dated 22-05-2021.
“It has been more than two months since the field enquiry and investigation were conducted on 16-04-2021 and there is no hearing of the joint parties or individually, for which I have been patiently and eagerly waiting and as such I had no other alternative but to resort to file another complaint directly to the NHIDCL through the ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India through the Public Grievance Portal on 22-05-2021 bearing Registration No. MORTH/E/2021/04703,” Vashum said the memo, adding that NHIDCL authority had called him up twice and sought relevant complaints and documents already addressed to the competent authority (DC, Ukhrul District).
“I had submitted all the scanned copies to them. It appears that my matter is under consideration and investigation,” he said.
Citing probable manipulation of a huge sum of amount in the process, he said: “which is why the essential verification of the holding rights and land ownership was overlooked, and simply on the pretext of non-objection, the land compensation was granted”.
“This amounts to infringing on my personal rights and suppressing of my village authority rights as the headman. This could never take place without at least serving a notice or summon to my representatives or myself. On other occasions, I have been receiving notices or advisories from the administrative authority on other issues however, they deliberately failed to do so on this occasion,” he said.
The major administrative failure occurred when they ordered compensation of Crores of Rupees without proper verification and validation to the village headman and villagers of Monkot Chepu. This clearly shows that there is an absolute nexus between some of the administrative authorities and the headman of Monkot Chepu, who had claimed the compensation without any proper basis or rights by bypassing every hurdles of verification.
Accusing the Chief of Monkot Chepu village of claiming an area of 400 meters as his own in the land compensation, Vashum said that: “Monkot Chepu chief does not have any proof or evidence to support his claim.”
“How could competent authority grant him compensation of my land even without any evidence or valid documents? It appears that there was a gross bribery, nepotism and favoritism involved in the grant of land compensation,” he said.
Litan chief then demanded that proper action and inquiry be initiated against the wrongdoers and awarded fitting punishment to any staffs or officials involved in the conspiracy so as to thwart the unlawful process initiated by certain vested interests to eliminate the existence of his village.
The memorandum also requested the DC and SP for security cover for him and his family from time to time in the face of threat call given by the Chief of Monkot Chepu, followed by mob violence in April.
On April 18, villagers of Monkot Chepu attacked Vashum’s house and property and caused certain damages to properties. The security personnel stationed there reportedly failed to control the mob.
“A mob of Monkot Chepu had vandalized property and served repeated threats to me and my family in connection with the land acquisition triggering a possible communal disharmony and unwarranted clashes,” it added.