IMPHAL, Jul 17: People of Marangching village, in Tamenglong district, have decried the non-payment of compensation for the land damaged by the railway construction works along the Tupul (Marangching ) – Imphal section and villagers have threatened to completely halt railway construction works in the entire Marangching area if no positive steps are taken up by the authorities concerned.
In an interaction with media persons today at the village, attended by village leaders and elders including office bearers of JAC Marangching, they clarified that the title Jiribam- Tupul given for the rail track is wrong and it should be termed as Jiribam- Marangching as no land of Tupul is covered by the said project.
Village chief, Namronlung Gondaimei alleged that innocent villagers of Marangching are repeatedly deceived by the authorities regarding land compensation and land survey.
He added that the DC of Tamenglong issued notifications which never reached the villagers and land survey were initiated without any consent from the villagers. Such attitude of the competent authorities raises serious question on whether they are involved in diverting compensation funds of villagers, he alleged.
Further he said that the railway project has severely affected the natural setting of land, water and surrounding eco-system which has gravely affected the villagers in the area. Almost 90 percent of all cultivable lands of Marangching village which is divided into Part- I, Part- II, Part- III, Part- IV and Part-V are either submerged by debris of railway construction works or directly affected by the project.
Large stretches of paddy fields in different location were seen damaged and filled with mudslides or debris from the hill top.
He demanded that the State Govt take up immediate steps to compensate villagers whose standing crops and vegetations have been affected by the railway project through the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
Meanwhile, secretary of the JAC of Marangching, Gongchalung Gangmei stressed that railway related construction works were halted against the failure of the authorities to re-conduct the survey from Panglen Panthok to Kou Panthok for construction of railway tracks on the hills of Marangching village which come under the Tupul-Imphal section.
He added that the controversy over the issue erupted after two villagers of Marangching declared the land belonged to them and survey authorities including the SDO and DC took their sides without considering the actual truth from the villagers.
He further complained that the issue was politicized and tension had erupted in the village with several houses destroyed. The villagers had earlier demanded resurvey of the railway line at the earliest since last December and had even fixed January 3 as deadline for the State Government to act, he said.
After the deadline passed, the JAC was forced to impose a general strike to stop any work related to the railway project in the Tupul-Imphal section.
Gongchalung added that the State Govt should take up positive steps by July 26 in the larger interest of the affected villagers. He warned that if the authorities concerned fail to take prompt steps to settle the issue, any work related to railway project in both Jiribam-Tupul and Tupul-Imphal section will be banned in Marangching area.
Meanwhile the West Bengal based Tunnels construction company SENBO Engineering Ltd which has been assigned the construction works in Tunnel No.1,2,3,4,&7 (approximately 4.7 km long distance) in Tupul-Imphal section has been halted since April 14.
Commenting on the issue, Senior Engineer (Civil) Kishore Verma said the company employs more than 200 workers to complete the said tunnels within 20 to 30 months. After construction works have been halted by villagers since April 14 the company has been incurring serious loss and there is apprehension that the work will not be completed within the given time.