Committee to settle land compensation dispute for Mechi-Mahakali Electric RailwaySurvey has been halted due to the agitation of local residents.
Authorities have finally agreed to form a committee to settle the longstanding dispute regarding compensation pay for the land acquired to build the Mechi-Mahakali Electric Railway.
The agitating locals of Betauna in Chandrapur Municipality, the local administration, the railway project and the people’s representatives reached an agreement on Friday to form the committee to re-evaluate the compensation amount.
The committee comprises representatives of the railway project, the district administration office and the survey office, ward chairman of Chandrapur-8 in Rautahat and three local representatives.
Residents of Betauna have been protesting for the past few months demanding a review of the compensation amount decided by the Compensation Fixation Committee of the East-West Electric Railway. They pitched tents on the plots to be acquired by the project and staged a sit-in.
The protesting locals staged the sit-in at Betauna on Thursday and Friday. However, they called off the agitation after the representative of the Department of Railways, the chief district officer, lawmakers representing the district, and the chiefs of security agencies assured the agitating people that their demands would be addressed by forming the committee.
“The Compensation Fixation Committee determined the compensation amount for the plots acquired to construct the railway stating that those lands are not connected by pathways and irrigation canals. The faulty report that prevented the local farmers from getting suitable compensation should be revised,” said lawmaker Deba Prasad Timilsina, adding that the new committee would revise the compensation amount.
Stating that the compensation amount fixed by the committee is far less than the current value of land, the agitating locals had submitted memoranda to various government offices including the Ministry of Home Affairs through the District Administration Office, the Department of Railways, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to address their concerns.
The compensation amount ranged from Rs 300,000 to Rs 1.6 million per kattha. But the landowners claim the current land price in the area is at least Rs 1 million per kattha.
The agitating landowners claim that the committee members had inspected the field from a distance when the area was inundated in the rainy season.
“They did not see the pathways and canals and prepared the report accordingly. The pathways and canals linking the lands should be mentioned. Our demand is to provide compensation for the land as per the current value of the land,” said Pradip Basnet, vice-chairman of the local struggle committee.
The survey for the railway has been halted due to the agitation. “Work has been affected in the Betauna area due to the protest. We have been surveying the western part of Betauna now,” said Amit Rijal, the project manager of a construction company.
Lumbini/Apex/Thani JV won the contract worth Rs 700 million in Rautahat. The 945 km Mechi-Mahakali Electric Railway is one of the government’s national pride projects.