Residents support state highway construction, say wrong information being spread

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 30 Jan: Following the report that a section of the people residing in between Itanagar and Moin village in the Itanagar Capital Region (ICR) is creating hurdle in the construction of Arunachal’s first state highway in between Itanagar and Jote, the locals on Sunday clarified that they are not against the project.

A group of people under the banner of the Gohpur Tinali-Ganga Lake, Moin Land Affected People Forum said that they fully support the project and are only waiting to hear from the authorities in this regard.

The residents alleged that not a single person, either from the capital administration or the executing agency (PWD), has ever contacted them.

“We have never objected to the Itanagar-Jote highway project. We only want to know how much land the government requires and what will be the width of the road and whether our properties will be affected,” said Hiba Taji, a landowner.

He also urged the government to construct a proper protection wall after earth-cutting, so that the people living nearby feel safe.

The forum’s vice chairman Bamang Apa said that the people of the area are thankful to Chief Minister Pema Khandu for sanctioning the two-lane Itanagar-Jote state highway project. He, however, alleged that, instead of trying to win the confidence of the project-affected people, the authorities are spreading wrong information.

“We obtained a stay order from the court because the authorities directly served us an eviction notice without ever trying to get in touch with us. Even the capital MLA has no idea about this project. The local panchayat leaders of the area have not been taken into confidence,” said Apa.

He made it clear that the project-affected people are ready to negotiate the terms with the authorities, and that no one is against the project.

“People are ready to negotiate. Seeking compensation does not mean that the affected people only want money. Some need assurance for protection walls and breast walls around their properties. The people of the area should be given confidence by the capital administration and the contractors,” Apa said.

Further, he alleged that the contractors have not brought even a single machine to start work in between Itanagar and Moin. “Instead of trying to resolve the issue and start work at the earliest, wrong information is being spread that we have threatened to burn down machines, etc,” said the forum’s vice president.

He added that if ICR DC Talo Potom invites the project-affected people for dialogue, they would definitely meet the DC.

“Clash between the administration and the land-affected will not help anyone. We are ready to negotiate and resolve the issues. It is up to the capital administration to decide,” said Apa.

“The compensation issue can be easily resolved if the government wants. In this stretch, only two houses will be affected in a major way. For the rest, only minor portions of their properties will be affected,” added Apa.

Apparently, on Sunday, a PWD JE visited the site and took measurements in the presence of the project-affected people.

The two-lane Itanagar-Jote state highway is 20 kms long. Work on the 14-km stretch falling under the Papum Pare administration is going on in full swing. However, work on the 6-km-long Itanagar-Moin stretch under the ICR administration has not started due to the failure of the administration to provide an encumbrance-free RoW to the contractor.