Kaso urges ICR DC to release compensation for NH work

ITANAGAR, 18 Jul: Itanagar MLA Techi Kaso has urged the Itanagar capital region (ICR) deputy commissioner to immediately release compensation to the genuine beneficiaries and hand over Packages B and C of the four-lane highway project in the capital to the contractors to start work at the earliest.

Speaking to the media here on Sunday, Kaso said that, considering the pathetic condition of the Naharlagun to Banderdewa stretch of the four-lane highway, it has become pertinent to clear the compensation at the earliest, so that contractors can take up repair work.

“The assessment of compensation was done for this stretch in 2013-14 and accordingly, the government of India sanctioned the fund in 2016. However, compensation is yet to be paid. Now I am hearing talks of conducting a reassessment. If such action is initiated, it will push back the project,” said Kaso.

He also said that the tender process for both the packages has already been completed and the DC should release the compensation fund.

“Compensation should be distributed to genuine beneficiaries as soon as possible. If there is any issue with some beneficiaries then don’t pay them. But release compensation for genuine ones. Encumbrance-free land should be immediately handed over to the PWD highway,” the MLA said.

He said that illegal earth-cutting by citizens is causing massive destruction to the highway in Itanagar. He also appealed to the PWD highway department to maintain the road till the stretches are handed over to the contractors.

PWD Highway EE Nani Tath said that, till the DC hands over encumbrance-free land, the department would not be able to put pressure on the contractors to start work.

“During a meeting with the chief secretary, the ICR DC had assured to provide encumbrance-free land by 30 July. Recently, DC Talo Potom wrote to the highway department chief engineer, informing that Package C is being handed over encumbrance-free. But when we went to the ground to verify, the status remained the same. We have identified 126 hindrances and none of them has been removed. This has been informed to the DC,” said Tath.

He also said that a compensation amount of Rs 27 crores is lying with the office of the ICR DC. “Previous DC K Dulom had constituted a board to re-verify the compensation claims on Packages B and C. It was done and accordingly, 67 beneficiaries were identified. The date of disbursement of compensation was also finalized. But payment has been withheld by the present DC. At present, we have no idea about the status of payment of compensation,” he said.

The EE also said that the agreement for Packages B and C was signed with the contractor in January this year. “We are now waiting for the DC to give us encumbrance-free land. Once the appointed date is fixed, we can tell the contractor to start work,” he added.

However, he assured that the department is carrying out repair work on the worst-hit stretches between Naharlagun and Nirjuli.

“We are making some repairs but the work is being affected by rain. Illegal earth-cutting near the highway poses a threat to the highway. In future also, if earth-cutting is not regulated, the Model Village-Lekhi-Nirjuli stretch will face problems even if a highway is constructed,” said the EE.