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Protest over bypass

Jorhat, Dec. 1: Two organisations at Dergaon in Golaghat district, the Dergaon Sachetan Nagarik Mancha and Dergaon Bypass Birodhi Sangram Samiti, are opposing the proposed bypass of the four-lane highway, as it will pass through many agricultural fields and small tea gardens in the town.

Convener and co-ordinator of the two organisations, Padma Lochan Nath, said, “The proposed bypass will cover 15km through fertile agricultural fields and tea gardens, which are never flooded or eroded.” Nath added that the farmers and tea growers were planning to oppose the bypass. “The government directive makes it clear not to acquire agricultural land for development purposes unless there is no alternative. In this case there is an alternative to acquire land on either side of National Highway 37, which passes through Dergaon,” he said. Nath alleged that politics was at play in not acquiring the land where a few business establishments were located, along a 1.2-km stretch from the State Bank of India to the Police Training College. Moreover, as Police Training College was willing was let go of some land, so the other establishments should also do the same, he said.“We have approached both the National Highways Authority of India and the government innumerable times through memorandums but have obtained no results. Two days ago we had submitted memorandums to the chief minister and state PWD minister Ajanta Neog,” Nath said. “We will step up our agitation if the government proceeds with the proposed bypass as is evident from the land being measured inside the villages,” he said.

Farmers Bubul Gayan of Bokotia Gaon and Parama Hazarika of Bongal Gaon said they would not allow the construction of the bypass through their fields at any cost.