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Bypass dream bleak

Shillong, Dec. 13: Meghalaya Public Works Department (roads) minister H.D.R. Lyngdoh today virtually poured cold water on chief minister Mukul Sangma’s plan to inaugurate the much-desired Shillong bypass this month.

On being asked by the United Democratic Party legislator Paul Lyngdoh during question hour whether the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) would be in a position to complete the bypass by December 2012, the minister replied in the negative.

“Till date, about 70 per cent of the work has been completed, and the stipulated period for completing the whole project is February 2014,” H.D.R. Lyngdoh said, on the second day of the winter session.

However, on November 8, the chief minister had said the bypass would be inaugurated by this month as a “Christmas gift” to the people.

Rongchugiri legislator James P.K. Sangma asked why the chief minister had stated that the bypass would be inaugurated before the stipulated time.

Replying to this, H.D.R. Lyngdoh said, “The chief minister met the NHAI officials on November 6, and requested them to try their best to complete the work within December.” On land compensation, the PWD minister said all landowners have been adequately compensated, but some of the farmers have demanded compensation for the damage caused to their agricultural and horticultural crops by the company involved in the construction of bypass.

“The East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner has written to the NHAI to pay the compensation by this year. They will have to pay Rs 41,94,000 as damages on agricultural produce and Rs 47,49,700 on horticultural produce,” the minister said.

He said the NHAI has agreed to compensate the farmers. The bypass is a 47km-stretch from Lad Umroi in Ri Bhoi district to Mawryngkneng in East Khasi Hills district.

Yesterday, irate landowners, farmers and students put a stop to the ongoing construction of the bypass from Mawryngkneng to Diengpasoh village, alleging that no compensation was paid to the farmers.

Mawryngkneng is around 20km from Diengpasoh and both fall under the East Khasi Hills district. Mawryngkneng is 30km from here.

The Shillong bypass covers prominent areas like Lad Umroi, Umroi, Nongtraw (Ri Bhoi district), Diengpasoh and Thangshalai (East Khasi Hills) before culminating at Mawryngkneng.