Unhappy over what they termed as low and discriminatory rates for land acquisition for construction of the Dimapur-Zubza railway line in Nagaland, residents of six villages in Dimapur district have announced they would not let the construction work take place in their areas.
“We had given the government 15 days’ time to resolve our issue. While we have been demanding higher rate at par with villages of Chumukedima area, the state government has failed to even look at what we are asking for,” a joint statement issued by gaonburras (heads) of six villages through which the 88-km railway line will pass through, said on Monday.
The six gaonburras have said that while the rate for compensation of land in their villages was fixed at Rs 28.75 per square feet, the same for land in the Chumukedima area was fixed at Rs 60. “This is discriminatory because the major portion of the land acquired in our villages is rich paddy fields,” the claimed.
The villagers, who had announced a 15-day deadline on July 16, on Monday said they would not let the contractors engaged by the railways to carry out any construction activity till the state government did not respond to their demand. “Any untoward incidents arising out of the stoppage of the work would be the responsibility of the Government,” the goanburras stated. The six villages are Dhansiripar, Zutovi, Pimla, Sokhuvi, Khemnok and Razaphe Basa.
Meanwhile, Dimapur deputy commissioner Kesonyu Yhome said residents of the six villages had already received payment for their land from the authorities after they had agreed to the rate several months ago. “The matter was settled several months ago and they had gladly accepted the payments. If they have any further issue, they should wait for the state government’s response instead of going ahead with any strike,” Yhome told The Indian Express over the telephone from Dimapur.
The 88-km Dimapur-Zubza (Kohima) broad gauge line – a national project – was sanctioned by Railway Board in 2007-08. Considering its importance, it was declared a National Project in 2007. The new line will take off from the existing railhead at Dhansiri railway station (in Karbi Anglong district of Assam), 19 km short of Dimapur, and culminate at Zubza, which is 16 km short of Kohima.