Land owners to file PIL against Govt

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: Owners of land along the existing stretch of NH-40 at Umsning have decided to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Gauhati High Court in opposition to the recent decision of the State Government to construct the proposed four-lane road through the Umsning Bypass.

The land owners took the decision during a public meeting organised by the Ri-Bhoi Students’ Union (RBSU) at the community hall at Lum Roman, Umsning on Thursday.

“We are going to file the PIL since we came to know that as per the report of the Fact Finding Committee constituted by the State Government, majority of the land owners were in favour of the construction of the four-lane road through the existing Umsning road,” the land owners said during the public meeting.

It may be noted that as per the report of the fact finding team a total of 129 land owners supported the four-laning from the existing road while there were 124 of them who were in favour of constructing the four-lane through the Umsning Bypass.

While pointing out that as per the Land Acquisition Act, 1982, the State Government is not supposed to acquire agricultural land, the land owners said, “It is really surprising that the Government is overlooking this fact and acquiring huge chunks of agricultural land along the Umsning Bypass,” the land owners claimed.

Stating that the 600 metre stretch between the Umsning Town Dorbar and the SBI Umsning branch was the only cause of concern for undertaking the four-lane construction from the existing road, the landowners said the government can bypass the stretch as people in other areas like in Lum Roman, Syad, Lum Nongrim and Umtrew villages supported the idea of constructing the lane from the present road.

Meanwhile, Umsning Presbyterian Church elder, M Dkhar, said that the church members would resort to hunger strike if the Government went ahead with construction of the four-lane road through the proposed Umsning Bypass.

It may be recalled that the Cabinet had, on Saturday last, announced that the four-laning of National Highway-40 along the Umsning sector would be constructed through the Umsning Bypass and not through the existing road. At the same time, it was decided that the existing highway along the Umsning stretch would be improved upon.

It may be mentioned that the four-laning of NH-40 from Jorabat to Umiam, covering 61.8 km at an estimated cost of Rs 753 crore (inclusive of land compensation), had hit a roadblock last year following a division on whether the four-lane should come up from the existing route or from the bypass.

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