JORHAT, July 2 – Seeking adequate compensation for the demolition of their roadside shops, tea stalls and other small business establishments from the Government to construct the four-lane highway from Numaligarh to Demow on the National Highway 37, several shopkeepers and roadside vendors here on Wednesday said that they have moved Gauhati High Court to compel the authorities to provide them compensation as per the provision of the ‘Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013’.
At a press conference here on Wednesday, they said that about 800 shopkeepers and vendors on both sides of the NH-37 were excluded from the list of people eligible for receiving compensation, though the newly-introduced legal provisions of the Land Acquisition Bill clearly mentions that they be provided compensation.
“Government officials, who were assigned the task of survey and preparing lists for adequate compensation for those affected from the four-laning work of NH-37 from Numaligarh to Demow, did not include the roadside vendors and shopkeepers. Asked about the reason for exclusion, most of the Government officials said that they were not aware of the newly-introduced provisions of the bill,” said Binod Bora, secretary of the recently-constituted body Ujoni Asom Khyatigrasta Varatiya Babyasayik Okya Mancha (UAKVBOM).
He said that there are enough provisions for paying compensation, even to the tenants of a particular area, during the process of land acquisition by any Government for construction. According to the organisation, 800 owners of roadside shops and stalls will lose their daily income, once the demolition process begins on both sides of the NH-37. They said that most of them are yet to return money to many banks, which they got as loans under various government schemes for employment and livelihood programmes.
During the press conference, the members of the UAKVBOM opined that officials concerned of the three districts should launch a survey for their compensation soon, as the Gauhati High Court on June 26 this year ordered the respondents to do that.
Advocate Sudiptanayan Goswami, who argued for their compensation in the High Court, said that “proper survey was ordered by the bench of Justice BK Sharma in response to their petition”.
“As we were informed that the land acquisition was done under the provisions of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, the tenants like vendors and shopkeepers were to be included for compensation. We hope the High Court will give justice to the people,” said advocate Goswami in the press conference.