Wednesday, June 7, 2023

MLAs slam Rly land encroachment

Staff Reporter


Nagaland Post has been highlighting the causes and factors that have affected economic development of Dimapur for the past decade but the state government appears to have turned a blind eye.
Dimapur railway station, which contributes the second highest revenue after Guwahati to the Northeast Frontier Railways(NFR), can no longer grow. Dimapur railway station cannot expand because lands are encroached and which has driven NFR to despair that the case is hopeless and so has set its eyes on other alternative points in nearby Karbi Anglong.
Karbi Anglong could even steal a march over Dimapur when new railway development projects are implemented in Diphu, Dhansiri and Bokajan.
Nagaland Post had recently reported how various development projects in Diphu, the district headquarter of Karbi Anglong district in Assam, was on full throttle. This is because land is ensured for development by the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC).
It may be recalled that the Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), NFR Lumding Division, Sabyasachi De, told Nagaland Post recently that 30.283 hectares out of 53.806 hectares of railway lands have been encroached in Dimapur. Dey also lamented that no appreciable assistance has been provided by the state government or district authorities in Dimapur in demarcation of land boundaries, or removal of encroachers from railway land.
It may also be pointed out that the NFR has not uttered a word over encroachment of land by three mandirs within Dimapur railway station. These structures are at the centre of the railway station and not at the periphery.
When Nagaland Post contacted MLAs of Dimapur- Moatoshi Longkumer (Dimapur-II) and Azheto Zhimomi (Dimapur-III),both legislators were firm that development cannot be allowed to be hijacked by encroachers in the larger interest of the people of Nagaland. The MLAs also maintained that the state government should not hesitate to evict all encroachers and action be taken against officials who have issued pattas on these encroached lands.
Azheto Zhimomi: The veteran legislator from Dimapur-III, maintained that the district administration should consult with elected representatives in handling grievances and complains of public. He suggested officials involved in issuing land pattas to encroachers without proper verification and examinations should be identified and summoned for questioning. “It is insincerity of the land resource department for issuing the patta without proper investigation”, Zhimomi added.
Azheto also disclosed that he had succeeded in having five pattas cancelled that were issued by land revenue department when he was chairman of DPDB Dimapur district.
Without naming the officers, Azheto revealed that the pattas were issued by the then EAC Chümoukedima and Revenue Officer without the administrative approval of the state government. Zhimomi, stated that he was ever ready to join hands with all three MLAs of Dimapur (I, II & III) to evict encroachers if allegation made by NFR were proved in the court of law.
He also demanded that all those involved in issuing the patta, without proper screening and investigation, should be penalised or suspended after being given show cause notice to explain why land pattas were issued without proper screening.
“It is the duty of state government, district administration, land records and concerned department, not to issue pattas without proper screening and investigation”, Zhimomi said.
On the other hand, Zhimomi said that state government or officials involved in issuing the illegal pattas should be the ones compensating the encroachers.
Moatoshi: Meanwhile, MLA of Dimapur-II, Moatoshi Longkumer backed Azheto Zhimomi’s view that the rule of law should be applied with respect of encroachers of railway lands in Dimapur.
Moatoshi said encroachers should be evicted if Dimapur was to become a developed city. “Rule of law should apply no matter who is involved”, he stated.
He also noted that detailed enquiry should be conducted to verify if allegations made by NFR were true.
When asked whether Dimapur MLAs should fight the encroachment menace together, Longkumer replied, “There should be no partisan views on such matters of public importance”.
On those officers involved in land scam, Moatoshi called for punitive action against officers who had ‘arbitrarily’ issued pattas without taking into account due process of government rules and regulations.
On whether compensation should be made to the encroachers, Longkumer maintained that it was duty of the court of law to decide.
It can be noted that Ministry of Railways, earlier this year, selected Dimapur Railway station to be developed into a world class station, with several sanctioned developmental works ready for execution. However, encroachment has ensured that rail passengers of Dimapur will suffer and provide excuse to NFR officials from Assam, to bypass Dimapur.
The government of Nagaland appears to be more focused on Dhansiri- Zubza railway line and ceded the space to other cities in Assam such as Diphu and Jorhat to surpass the economic growth of Dimapur and adversely affect Nagaland in the long run.
Though population of Diphu City is around 62,000, it has a full fledged medical college, an engineering college, campus of Assam University and soon to have colleges of agriculture, veterinary, forest including sports and cultural infrastructure as announced by Assam chief minster Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Projects in Karbi Anglong don’t suffer due to encroachments or land acquisition problems for expansion of railway or road networks. Land required is for new four and six lane expressways.


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