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CPO files PIL seeking Rs 120 cr compensation

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Kohima, January 30: Fighting for the cause of the poor and marginalized farmers whose lands have been damaged in the process of construction of SARDP (Phase A) two-lane road project under Phek district, the Chakhesang Public Organisation (CPO) has filed litigation against M/s Maytas-Gayatti (JV).
Addressing a press conference here today, Convenor of CPO Committee on 2-lane road, Vaprumu Demo and member Besupra Swuro said in pursuant of resolution adopted by CPO ‘to pursue damage compensation for those whose properties were damaged by M/s Maytas-Gayatri (JV) during construction of 2 lane road’, CPO has filed PIL in Gauhati High Court, Kohima Bench seeking justice on behalf of the poor and helpless victims.
Demo recalled that in 2010 M/s Maytas-Gayatri (JV) was awarded the work of 2 laning of Longleng-Changtonya Road, Mon-Tamlu-Merangkong Road, Phek-Ptutsero Road and Zunheboto-Chakhahama Road under SARDP-NE (Phase A) for an amount of Rs 1296 crores. He said the joy of people over the forthcoming 2-lane roads soon turned into nightmare.
He said that from day one the contractor, in total disregard of contractual agreement, especially concerning designated dumping areas, rampantly cut the earth of the steep hills and pushed down all excavated soil, rocks and debris on the valley side. This, he claimed, caused huge avalanche like situation and land and properties of the poor and marginalized villagers were destroyed beyond recovery.
All these happened right under the nose and silence of State Government and Central Government. He lamented that the road project was abandoned midway due to impasse between M/s Maytas-Gaytris (JV) and Government of India over price escalation, which created more problem than solution for the victims.
However, Demo said, in response to widespread public protest, the State Government notified all affected districts on February 27, 2017 and accordingly respective district administration with concerned departments and local bodies conducted joint spot-verification and damages caused were quantified and amount of compensation against each person was determined.
The total amount of compensation claimed by State Government stands at Rs 120,99,81,755 for the State as a whole and Rs 55,12,66,695.34 for Zunheboto-Chakhabama Road (under Phek district) and Rs 5,81,69,989.70 for Phek-Pfutsero Road in particular, he said.
Citing that for reasons best known to authorities concerned the outstanding compensation have not been released till date, he said while claiming that department said the matter is delayed as it is under arbitration.
But, he said, following RTI replies and also advise from legal luminaries, the CPO committee found that ‘arbitration’ was to resolve the contractual dispute between Government and contractor while the issue of compensation for the damage cause cannot be stopped because of it.
Lauding the Supreme Court’s intervention in resumption of the abandoned road but this time with new contractor – National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (NHIDCL) with specific timeframe for completion with 3.6 years.
The compensation for land this time was only for the remaining 30% of the area which were left uncut by Maytas-Gayatri JV, he said.
Stating that the victims have waited patiently for their compensation for nearly 10 years with fading hope each day and they were getting restive over false hope being fed by authorities concerned, he said failing to address the issue in time would sacrifice the mega project second time and create even law and order situation.
The case was moved by Angshuman Sarma, counsel for CPO on December 13, 2019 while the Court admitted the petition as a fit case on January 16 last thereon issued notice to all respondents, including the contractor and government, returnable within six weeks, he revealed adding that the matter has been listed for hearing on February 27, 2020.
The CPO is determined to go to the last till justice is delivered to the victims by the Court, he added. (Page News Service)

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