Tribals ‘manipulated’, lose land compensation under Bharatmala!

Meanwhile, convenor of Bharatmala Land Losers’ Association Sarat Chandra Burda alleged that tribals are being manipulated during acquisition process.
Bahadur Majhi
Bahadur Majhi

KORAPUT: A spate of complaints over tribal land allegedly alienated in wrongful manner to appropriate compensation for land acquisition under the Centrally-sponsored Bharatmala Pariyojana project has come to the fore in Koraput district.

Former Pottangi MLA Prafulla Pangi claimed to be one of many who has been duped. He was holding 10.8 acre of land in three khatas under Lunguri Mouza in Semiliguda Tehsil. He was a tenant of the land from 1997 which was recorded in his name but mutation process was incomplete.

However, he claimed that a government employee purchased the same land in 2003 and availed compensation of Rs 1.96 crore under the project in the first phase. The second phase compensation could not be released after he filed a complaint.

Pangi has also filed a civil case in the court to avail the compensation as original landowner. He claimed that 26 such dispute cases have come to the fore because of improper verification of encumbrance of land records by revenue authorities.

In another such case, a 76-year-old Bahadur Majhi, a former employee of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited at Sunabeda, claimed he was a victim too. From Santhal tribe, Majhi had a patch of 3.66 acre land in Lunguri mouza under Semiliguda Tehsil which he purchased in 1980s. He recently submitted a complaint with Koraput Collector stating that his land was shown as belonging to a general caste person and later compensation was availed by two persons.

He resides in Mayurbhanj after retirement and is bed-ridden. Majhi claimed that the new land owners received of Rs 1.76 crore compensation from the competent authority in exchange of the land for the highway project.

In the second phase, another Rs 1.92 crore was sanctioned as compensation. However, it is yet to be disbursed as the matter came to light after Majhi submitted a memorandum to the Koraput Collector. Contacted, Collector Md Abdaal Akhtar said he has directed the sub-collector to probe and determine the real owner of the land.

Semliguda tehsildar Debabrata Karate said the incident did not occur during his term but there should not be any land transaction after notification of the project. “We have identified 11 cases regarding ownership disputes. I have apprised the matter to the Collector too,” he said.

Project Director of National Highways Authority of India, Bharatmala Pariyojna Venkatesulu said more than 500 hectare private land will be acquired from over 700 landowners in Koraput district alone.“So far, Rs 135 crore has been disbursed out of Rs 185 crore to land losers. We are hopeful the project would be complete on time if stakeholders support wholeheartedly,” he added.

Meanwhile, convenor of Bharatmala Land Losers’ Association Sarat Chandra Burda alleged that tribals are being manipulated during acquisition process.More than a dozen cases in which identity of real landowners have been manipulated are pending under Bharatmala project, he added.

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