Early Times Newspaper Jammu
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Land acquisition for semi Ring Road by NHAI
Budgam residents demand fair compensation
Early Times Report
Srinagar, Nov 5: Villagers from as many as 40 villages of Budgam district are up in arms against the authorities as they are demanding fair compensation for the proposed land acquisition which will be undertaken in the upcoming months for Pampore -Narbal -Ganderbal Semi Ring Road. The proposed highway is said to be very crucial as this will reduce the traffic by 50 % on the existing Pampore -Nowgam - Parimpora bypass.
Details available with Early Times reveal that affected villagers from 40 villages have formed a United Forum under the banner of Samaj Behbood Committee (SBC) Budgam which is fighting this cause from last several months. On Sunday the committee held a meeting at Budgam and resolved to take up the issue with Government to ensure affected villagers are paid fair compensation on the pattern of Central Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR).
As reported several times by Early Times the absence of a strong land acquisition act in Jammu & Kashmir is depriving people of the state from Lakhanpur to Leh fair compensation for their land and property while the same is acquired by Government for various developmental projects . In some areas land is being forcibly taken away by the Government authorities especially during land widening process and this was witnessed in Khag area of Budgam district recently.
" As of now the land acquisition act which is in-force is an obsolete law enacted more than 120 years back . The said law has the provision of Solatium (Jabirana) and people cannot even stop authorities to take away their land. Similar law was repealed by Government of India few years back but J&K Govt continues to follow the obsolete law . If National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) pays 4 times more compensation to affected families in other states, why cannot the same compensation be paid to us ? Why is state Government not bringing an ordinance in this regard so that people of state get benefitted ? " questions Ghulam Ahmad Paul President of Samaj Behbood Committee Budgam.
The PWD (R&B) few months back forcibly took away land from the residents of several villages in Khag tehsil of Budgam for road widening of Aripanthan - Khag road. Due to absence of a progressive land law in J&K , the authorities are neither rehabilitating nor resettling the aggrieved people. According to locals PWD (R&B) tells them that Govt has paid compensation to villagers way back in 1958 through the then MLA when the road was thrown open in the area. But when the record was sought about the same local Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) said that same has been damaged. The locals have now sought details about this whole issue using Right to Information Act (RTI) and the information is being denied. The aggrieved have now filed an appeal before State Information Commission (SIC) .
As reported in part the Defence Estates Department acquired more than 3800 kanals of land at Karewa Damodar near New Airport two years back. The compensation paid is mere Rs 6 lakhs per kanal. The locals have been urging upon Govt to come to their rescue but nobody is listening to them.
"Samaj Behbood Committee (SBC) Budgam is planning a district wide agitation to meet our demands and very soon we plan to meet Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti , Revenue Minister , PWD Minister and Law Minister in this regard at Jammu " said Ali Mohammad Wani who is General Secretary of SBC Budgam .
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