Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Rift among Ri-Bhoi NGOs over highway alignment

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By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: The rift between the Ri-Bhoi Students’ Union (RBSU) and other NGOs under the banner of Joint Action Committee (JAC) seems to have intensified after the RBSU reiterated that the Government should construct the four-lane highway from the existing Umsning stretch.

In a statement issued to media houses here on Wednesday, the RBSU stated that majority of the people in the district were supporting the Government’s move to construct the highway through the existing Umsning road.

It may be mentioned that the State Government had formed a fact-finding team to take the views of the people on whether the road should be constructed from the existing road or the Umsning by-pass stretch.

“The Government should be given full credit for forming the fact-finding committee and this can be termed as democracy in its pure form,” RBSU president T Lapang said in a statement issued here.

Two factions of NGOs are divided on the construction of the four-lane highway. While NGOs under the JAC are opposing the Government’s proposed move to construct the highway from the existing road, RBSU is supporting the move.

While the controversy continues the State Government is yet to take a final call on the matter.

The JAC has even threatened to move court “if the decision of the State Government does not go in its favour”

According to RBSU, many paddy fields of the farmers would be adversely affected if the State Government constructs the road from the Umsning by- pass.

The RBSU leader also asserted that the Government has every right to use the land since 150 feet from the centre line of the road belongs to the State Government.

The Chief Minister has already made it clear that that the Government cannot base its decision on ‘external voices’.

The four-laning project has turned into major controversy after the State Government decided to expand the highway through the existing Umsning road even s the DPRs were earlier prepared for the highway through the Umsing Bye pass.

Of the total 181.97 hectares of land required for the project, a total of 155.13 hectares have already been handed over to the NHAI for the Rs 536-crore four-lane project. The 61.8-km-long highway is scheduled to be completed by the beginning of 2014.

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