Stalemate over second Brahmani bridge at Balughat likely to end by mid-February

The stalemate over resumption of work on second Brahmani bridge on National Highway (NH) 143 at Balughat is likely to end by mid-February.

Published: 21st January 2019 06:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2019 09:37 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

ROURKELA: The stalemate over resumption of work on second Brahmani bridge on National Highway (NH) 143 at Balughat is likely to end by mid-February.

With Sundargarh district administration showing a ‘liberal’ approach towards the agitating land losers, the impasse is likely to be over soon, sources said.  Delay over the bridge project continues to generate political heat as it was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015. With general elections approaching, political slugfest over the matter is likely to get ugly.

Land losers at Dandiapali side of Brahmani river had not allowed NHAI to start work from their side. Fresh efforts of the administration to give land clearance were thwarted by Dandiapali residents’ protest in third week of December last year.

Yet, during visit of Sundargarh Collector Surendra Kumar Meena, the land losers sought higher compensation. An arbitration case was filed with the Collector and its disposal was scheduled for January 4.

Meena said with a ‘liberal’ approach, the administration immediately disposed of the case and doubled the compensation amount to the satisfaction of Dandiapali land oustees. Incidentally, before the arbitration suit, four of the total 17 families at Dandiapali had accepted the compensation.

Now five of the remaining 13 families have deposited genealogy certificates to receive revised higher compensation. But, disbursement of compensation is getting delayed in absence of the Rourkela ADM and competent authority for land acquisition Monisha Banerjee, who is on leave till January 31.

The administration is now facing issues with forces in PESA gram sabha committee pressuring the remaining eight land losers of Dandiapali not to accept compensation in a bid to halt the project. The Collector asserted that compensation disbursement would start from February 1 and if the remaining eight families fail to accept it, then the amount would be deposited in the civil deposit account by second week of February.

Earlier, in first week of December last year, encroachments were removed from Ruputola connecting the bridge site at Balughat on Rourkela side of the river. Meena said 25 families are affected at Ruputola, adding that as per norms, affected families are entitled to compensation valued at 10 per cent of demolished structures.

He said those who faced double displacement (first by Rourkela Steel Plant) at Ruputola would be given four decimal land at Jalda. He would personally hand over land records to them.

Meena asserted work would resume on both sides of the bridge project by mid-February.

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