Residents of villages in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district have received nearly Rs 38 crore as relief for land acquired by the Army to set up bases in the 1960s. Khrimey of Tukpen village, who got Rs 6.31 crore, says though the compensation has come late, the people are happy.
Why did the villagers receive the money?
In the 1960s, after the Chinese aggression, the Indian Army acquired land in Tukpen to set up bases. The amount we have received is compensation for the land taken from us at the time.
Why do you think it took so long for the villagers to get the money?
Our forefathers extended all possible help to the Army. Our elders have been pressing for the compensation for long — since the 1970s. At the time, many of us did not know what compensation we were eligible for. Since then, there were numerous meetings amongst the villagers and also with officials of the Defence Ministry in Delhi. Getting the documents sorted took a long time too.
Tukpen residents received Rs 13.17 crore in all. Who does the money go to?
Seven residents received the cheques, including myself. The village council has decided that the amount will be distributed among the 600-odd families of Tukpen. The land acquired by the Army belonged to the entire community.
What do people intend to do with the money?
Most of them will use it for their children’s education. Some will save it for future medical expenses. There are talks of keeping aside a certain amount with the village council for community and official events.
What will you do with the money?
My two sons have just graduated. I will save the money for their further education. They might also want to invest in something in the future.