Despite having valid documents to prove its ownership rights over a village link road, the army has said it is in no hurry to resume fencing work and will first take local residents into confidence.
Last week, army officials had faced stiff resistance when they tried to seal the thoroughfare connecting Mahuatoli village to Booty More in the state capital. Angry villagers had cited 1932 land records to claim that the road was for commoners and did not belong to the forces.
The situation had been brought under control following police intervention and after the army promised to stall fencing work.
Later, senior officials of the force invited representatives of Mahuatoli, including zilla parishad member Shashikala Mahto and mukhiya Anil Munda, for talks. The crucial meeting was held on December 12.
“We clarified to them that the disputed road had been acquired by the erstwhile Bihar government for army use. A gazette notification to this effect was issued on November 21, 1972. Further, the road from Tatisilwai to Booty More too was transferred to the army on April 12, 2008, in lieu of land given by it for the Khel Gaon Road,” said public relations officer Lt Col Rajnish Sharma.
Sharma claimed that both Mahto and Munda were convinced that the land actually belonged to the army and, finally, inked an agreement. “But still, the army has decided to wait for sometime before restarting fencing work. Anyone having doubts on the issue is welcome to seek more clarifications. We first want to convince each and every villager that our move is not unjustified,” he added.
On several occasions in the past, too, the army had had to face resistance when it tried to fence this village link. A section of local residents have been claiming that on July 3, 2011, the army had agreed to allow people to use the road. They had even argued that, according to an apex court ruling, the army could not cut off road links to villages.