Villagers halt railway works

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villagersIMPHAL, Jul 26: Alleged failure of concerned authorities to pay land compensation to villagers of Marangching village, Tamenglong district for construction of railway tracks and tunnels in the area prompted aggrieved villagers to stop all forms of NF Railway related works in Marangching areas.
Large number of villagers from all parts of Marangching rushed to all work sites located in Marangching area and halted all works relating to railway construction. On the other hand, suspected bandh enforcers damaged a mini truck belonging to NF Railways.
Earlier, villagers of Marangching served an ultimatum to the authorities concerned including the State Govt to intervene for complete payment of land com- pensation and to use the data collected during land survey conducted in January this year for all railway construction works.
They alleged that the DC of Tamenglong district has failed to fulfil the demands placed by Marangching villagers despite repeated approaches.
The DC in collusion with some elements and NF Railway officials conducted land survey last year at their convenience without taking due consent of affected villagers. The report of that specific survey should not be used by officials of NF Railways, the villagers demanded.
Secretary of the Joint Action Committee on Land Issue, Marangching, Gongchalung Gangmei expressed displeasure on the attitude of the State Govt over its alleged failure to intervene on payment of land compensation and to conduct land assessment for farmlands damaged by certain works of the railway lines.
He said that villagers approached the NF Railways to make assessment of farmlands damaged as a fallout of railway tracks laying and other activities but they were reported asked to approach the companies concerned. When the companies were approached, they would ask to go to the DC of Tamenglong. When villagers did what were told by the competent authorities, no step has been taken up in favour of affected villagers, he alleged.
Further, he said that the nomenclature given for the railway project as Jiribam- Tupul is wrong and it should be termed as Jiribam- Marangching as no land of Tupul is affected or covered by the said railway project.
Unless the nomenclature is changed and the demands of Marangching villagers are met by the authorities concerned, general strike/ bandh will be enforced indefinitely on all NF Railway activities in Marangching area, said Gongchalung.
He added that the local MLA of the area has met and conducted series of talks with the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, Deputy Chief Minister and the DC, but unfortunately no positive steps are taken up by the authorities and villagers are compelled to take up the extreme steps of banning all NF Railways related activities.
Meanwhile, Project Engineer of Abci Infrastructure Private Limited engaged in drilling of tunnel- 26 (A) of Jiribam-Tupul section, Arun Jyotidas said that such activities from villagers have hampered all works and the company has incurred huge loss. He commented that the NF Railway should take prompt steps to bring a solution with the issue as the company has been on the losing side.
It may be mentioned that the railway project has severely affected the natural setting of land, water and surrounding eco-system and has taken its toll on villagers settled 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 locations were seen damaged and filled with mudslides or debris which were drained down from the hill top.
On the other hand, Youth Club of Nungtek has placed series of demands which includes rectification of Noney Sub-division to Karuangmuan sub-station. They also urged the authority to remove mud dumped or deposited in paddy fields and provide proper compensation for the loss of paddy fields.

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