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HC dismisses petition seeking compensation for road project

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SHILLONG, June 7: The High Court of Meghalaya has dismissed a petition seeking compensation for anticipated damages to properties due to the proposed widening of the Rongjeng Mangsang A’dokgre Road. The petitioners had also sought to quash an order issued by the Deputy Commissioner (Revenue)/District Collector of East Garo Hills on March 8, 2019.
The petitioners, who identified themselves as the president and secretary of the Dambo-Rongjeng Land Owners’ Association, had argued that the government planned to widen the road in question without formulating any compensatory scheme for those affected by the road project.
They contended that the existing road is narrow, and is surrounded on both sides by residential houses, shops, plantations, cultivations, etc., on which they and others depend for their livelihoods.
The petitioners had argued that since the road-widening project would damage their properties and impact their survival, the government was duty-bound to pay compensation to the petitioners and other affected persons.
They then submitted a representation on November 24, 2017, to raise their grievances and claim compensation. However, the same went unheard.
The petitioners then approached the HC, following which an inquiry was conducted to consider all relevant aspects.
The report of the inquiry then led to the impugned order of March 8, 2019, which dismissed the petitioners’ claims, labelling them as encroachers on PWD land and deeming their compensation claims meritless.
Upon hearing the arguments, the HC observed that no one can claim ownership or possessory rights over properties within 35 feet from the foot of the slope of a public road.
“Thus, the question of payment of compensation for any alleged damage or destruction of properties situated within such 35 feet does not arise,” the HC said, dismissing the petitions.

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