GUWAHATI, July 5 - The Bokakhat-based Jeepal Krishak-Shramik Sangha has alleged that the contractors engaged in the construction of the Diphalu river dyke, have been digging paddy fields on both sides of the dyke located inside the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) eco-sensitive zone areas, by misleading the farmers concerned. Thus the contractors are facilitating in-situ collection of earth for construction of the dyke, minimising their earth collection cost. This is despite the fact that all sorts of mining activities inside the KNP eco-sensitive zone are banned, said the Krishak-Shramik Sangha.
The Sangha said that the contractors are misleading the farmers with the allurement that their paddy fields would be turned into fisheries free-of-cost if the farmers comply with the request to allow them (contractors) to collect the required amount of earth from their paddy fields for construction of the dyke. The detailed project report prepared for the dyke has also prohibited collection of earth from these paddy fields, said the Sangha.
Moreover, the Sangha alleged that there is a conspiracy to deprive the farmers from their due compensation against their land acquired for construction of the dyke. These farmers are now told by the contractors and their agents that the plots of land acquired for the dyke are in fact not fertile and worthy to be compensated for. Similarly, the orchards of these farmers are also undervalued by the contractors and their agents in a bid to dupe the farmers, alleged the Sangha.
The contractors and their agents are also challenging the settlement rights of these farmers, who have been settling in these areas for over five decades by paying land revenue.
The farmers and other settlers of these areas should be compensated as per the market prices and ‘productivity value’ of the plants, which together form the ‘Zirat Value,’ against the land acquired from the farmers and their fruit-bearing trees felled for laying the dyke, said the Sangha.
It has also demanded implementation of the “Resettlement and indigenous people’s plan” of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the lender of the loan for construction of the dyke.
It has also alleged that the Bokakhat subdivision authorities and the implementing agency Flood and River Erosion Management Agency of Assam (FREMAA) are not cooperating with the local people in matters of redressal of their grievances.