| The site of the Bihar Police Academy campus in Nalanda. Picture by Piyush Kumar Tripathi |
Nalanda, Jan. 9: A cremation ground on the plot earmarked for the proposed Bihar Police Academy at Mora, 103km off the state capital, has cast a shadow on the ambitious project.
The disputed 1.5-acre land on the northwest side of the project site sprawling over an area of 133 acres has become a bone of contention between the villagers and Bihar Police Building Construction Corporation — the executor of the project. Each time its employees tried to erect the boundary wall near the disputed side, the villagers were up in arms.
M.P. Singh, the site engineer, told The Telegraph: “The authorities concerned have not yet decided whether to erect the boundary forcefully or not.”
An officer of additional director-general (ADG) rank said: “There is an issue (with the land in Nalanda). We will listen to the demands of the people and try to work out a solution.”
Nalanda district magistrate Sanjay Agarwal and the sub-divisional officer, Seema Tripathi, echoed Choudhary.
“We want to solve the problem through dialogue with the villagers. If it becomes impossible to acquire the cremation land, we might have to do without it,” the district magistrate said.
Barring the disputed area, the boundary wall of the Bihar Police Academy has been erected.
The circle officer at Rajgir, Vishwanath Prasad, said: “The cremation ground in Rajgir is near Rajgirkund, along the banks of Saraswati.” It is 10km away from the village.
Sources in the district administration said the villagers use the land under lens in Mora to cremate the deceased. Even the cattle are cremated here.
According to the project map of the proposed Bihar Police Academy, a lake is supposed to be excavated in the disputed area, around 10km off Mora village.
Though tucked away, the villagers seem to be too possessive about the crematorium.
“We will not let go of the cremation ground. Our ancestors have been using this for centuries. How can anybody just snatch it?” asked Ashok Tati, a resident of the village.
Madhuri Tati, another villager, was more composed in his reply.
“If they acquire the land around the village, none of us has a problem. But we won’t let them take the cremation ground. All 100 families of the village are united on this issue.”
Administrative officials said the land, which the villagers claim to be their cremation ground, belongs to the state government. The district administration handed it over to Bihar Police Building Construction Corporation in 2009.
Krishna Choudhary, the ADG-cum-director of the proposed police academy, said: “There are plans to construct an auditorium, large conference room, a firing range of 300m, three lakes and a swimming pool among others.”
The proposed academy would offer specialised courses of three, nine and 12 months’ duration on intelligence collection, flood relief, canine school and jungle warfare.
“Total 1,400 sub-inspectors 1,800 deputy superintendents of police, 200 subordinate employees would be trained once the academy comes into existence,” Choudhary said.
Bihar had a police training cradle till the bifurcation of the state. The Police Training College at Hazaribagh went to Jharkhand’s kitty after its inception. The state has Constable Training School at Nathnagar in Bhagalpur.