Bardibas residents protest against railway land compensation rateThe concerned landowners said the valuation of their land made by the Land Compensation FixationCommittee was much lower against their current market value.
The landowners in Bardibas whose property falls along the proposed Jayanagar-Bardibas Railway and East-West Railway projects staged a protest in the district on Saturday, saying the compensation rate fixed by a government panel was unfair.
The concerned landowners said the valuation of their land made by the Land Compensation Fixation Committee was much lower against their current market value.
On August 18, the committee had fixed the land compensation rate of 59 bighas of land in Bardibas, the proposed site for the construction of the railway projects. It had decided to provide a minimum of Rs 700,000 to a maximum of Rs 8.1 million for a kattha of land from the eastern part of Ratu stream to the western part of Bhapsi stream as compensation.
The committee on Friday also issued a public notice for the distribution of the compensation amount in accordance with the proposed rate.
However, the landowners have not agreed to provide their lands at the proposed rate. The struggle committee has warned the Department of Railway not to work on their land plots until the compensation amount is increased.
“Even though the landowners cannot get the market price for their land, they should get a minimum of Rs 2 million to a maximum of Rs 12 million per kattha,” said Raju Khadka, coordinator of the Land Compensation Struggle Committee.
According to local residents, around 40 families in Bardibas will be displaced after the construction work of the railway project begins.
“We have to move to another location once construction works begin. But the government is not willing to provide us with an appropriate land compensation amount. We cannot even purchase a land plot from the rate fixed by the committee.”
Though the land owners have been protesting over the issue of compensation rate for a long time, some people say they are happy with the committee’s decision, as the long-standing issue of compensation has been concluded.
The construction work of the Jayanagar-Janakpur-Bardibas Railway has been on halt, as the land compensation issue was left undecided for the past seven years. Similarly, works on the East-West Railway have also been disrupted in the Bardibas section for years due to the compensation dispute.
The railway project office had decided to acquire the land some seven years ago but the project had been on halt, as the compensation rate could not be determined for a long time.
“We can now move forward with the project,” said Poshan Thapa of Bardibas Municipality-1.
The authorities are all set to distribute the compensation amount for land acquisition. Chief District Officer of Mahottari Tirtha Raj Bhattarai, who is also the chief of the compensation determination committee, said that the distribution process will start within a month.
“We will start distributing the compensation amount by the third week of September,” Bhattarai said. “The protesting locals can file a complaint to the home secretary if their demands are genuine. I am only implementing the government's decision.”
According to him, the decision will be implemented unless the district administration office receives the directives from the federal Ministry of Physical Infrastructure to review the valuation of the land acquired for the railway project.
The compensation determination committee has divided the acquired land of Bardibas into 32 parts. The government has to distribute Rs 2.3 billion in compensation to around 100 land owners.