Forum alleges scandal in compensation disbursement

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, May 18: In a potentially explosive allegation, the Yazali Zilla Segment Trans-Arunachal Highway Compensation Deprived Forum on Friday claimed that the compensation disbursement for the Potin-Joram stretch the Trans-Arunachal Highway (TAH) is one of the biggest scandals in the state.
Addressing media persons at the press club here, the forum’s spokesman Bengia Tolum alleged that the Lower Subansiri district administration whimsically carried out the payment process and made payments to several individuals who do not possess a single plot of land near the proposed TAH alignment.
“No public hearing regarding claims and objections was held by the district administration during the first assessment in 2009,” Tolum said.
He said the scandal involved Rs 188 crore which had been sanctioned for compensation but was not disbursed to the families who are actually affected by the highway project. Seventy-four families along the Potin-Joram stretch have been identified as “land affected people,” Tolum said.
The forum claimed that information gathered through the RTI Act revealed that several individuals who do not own plots or structures along the stretch were paid crores of rupees as compensation, and demanded a CBI investigation into the alleged scandal. It also demanded an inquiry by a sitting high court judge to unearth the facts.
“In spite of repeated RTI applications filed in order to access details of payment and disbursement, our applications were denied several times. Therefore, we had to access the documents through the RTI Act from the MoRTH office in Tezpur, Assam,” said Tolum.
The forum further alleged that the authority concerned falsified the original copies of the sanctioned amount and offered deducted amounts to the landowners. It cited the example of one Bengia Tach, who it said was to receive an original sanctioned amount of Rs 34,73,369 but was paid only Rs 15,29000.
It informed that the highest compensation amount paid to a landowner on the stretch was Rs 3.33 crore.
The forum blamed the then Lower Subansiri deputy commissioner Kemo Lollen, DLRSO Bharat Lingu, and PWD AE Toko Taje for the anomalies and irregularities.
Meanwhile, none of the mentioned officials were available to comment on the allegation made by the forum.