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Samithi says it won’t extend cooperation to land acquisition for NH 169 widening

‘Interference by NHAI in the process affects right to fair compensation’

The Bhoomalakara Horata Samithi of National Highway 169 (Mangaluru-Solapur) has decided not to extend any cooperation to acquisition of land for widening the highway between Mangaluru and Karkala on the ground that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is interfering in the process of providing fair compensation to land losers.

In a statement here, samithi president Mariyamma Thomas and convener Prakashchandra urged land losers not to provide any document to officials when they visit the land. This is as per the resolution adopted in the April 18 meeting of land owners that decided not to extend cooperation to land acquisition. The meeting had also sought the intervention of the Lok Sabha member to ensure that his promise of getting fair compensation to land losers is honoured, the statement said.

It said that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a Gazette notification to commence land acquisition for widening NH 169 passing through Padavu, Badaga Padavu, Kudupu, Kandavara, Mulur, Addur, Tiruvail, Moodu Perara, Thenka Ulipadi, Badaga Ulipadi, Thenka Edapadavu, Mijar, Todar, Puttige, Marpadi, Padu Marnad and Beluvai villages in Dakshina Kannada and Kanthavara and Sanur villages of Udupi district in 2014 through NHAI. The State government has appointed a special land acquisition officer who is authorised to function independently in his domain.

It said that when the special land acquisition officer has independent authority to execute land acquisition, NHAI officials issuing directions to the officer is illegal. Despite the officer having authority to carry out the acquisition process independently under the National Highways Act 1956, intervention in his work by NHAI officials is intended to deprive land losers of fair compensation, the samithi said. Consequently, they are being denied the right to fair compensation.

The samithi noted that the project director of NHAI did not impose any conditions for land acquisition for widening NH 66 between Surathkal and Kundapur in 2016. Imposing 16 conditions now for acquiring land for NH 169 is opposed to law, it said. The samithi has opposed such interventions and will resort to legal fight to get fair compensation under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013.

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