R Dutta choudhury
GUWAHATI, Nov 8 – Though the Government of India has started construction of a major road up to Tawang to improve connectivity to the international border with China, a major scam in matters of payment of land compensation has come to light and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already registered a case in this regard and investigations are on.
CBI sources told The Assam Tribune that the Bureau took over the case following an order of the Gauhati High Court, which gave the order after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL). The main allegation was that the Government orders were not followed while paying compensation to those whose land is being used for construction of the road.
Sources said that most of the irregularities took place in the Dirang valley area in Arunachal Pradesh and the local legislator, P Tsering was named as one of the accused in the scam. All the members of the land compensation board formed by the Government including the officials of the Land Management, Power, Horticulture, Forest, etc., are named as other accused in the case.
CBI sources revealed that altogether 17 cases of payment of land compensation are now under investigation by the CBI and according to allegation, some of those whose land is being used got much higher rates, while some others got much less. Sources said that there have been instances where barren land and forest land were shown as horticulture land so as to claim higher rate of compensation. However, the total loss of revenue to the Government exchequer is yet to be ascertained.
Sources said that a team of the CBI visited the Dirang valley to assess the situation on the ground and carry out preliminary investigations and spoke to the people involved.
It may be mentioned here following persistent demands for improvement of connectivity to the China border, the Government of India sanctioned a number of road projects in Arunachal Pradesh including a project to improve and widen the road leading to Tawang and construction of a Trans-Arunachal Pradesh Highway. However, the improvement of the road led to the major land compensation payment scam.