| Shrinking daily |
Shillong, Aug. 6: Various entities ranging from government departments to other state governments of the Northeast have been allotted plots of land in New Shillong township where opposition to further land acquisition has been vociferous.
According to RTI materials gathered by the president of the NGO Civil Society Women’s Organisation, Agnes Kharshiing, from the urban affairs department, a total of at least 775.83 acres of land in the township have already been identified for around 40 entities.
The RTI documents also revealed that out of 775.83 acres of land, around 512.98 acres have been handed over to the entities while the remaining 262.85 acres, although allotted, are yet to be handed over to the groups concerned.
From 40 entities, at least 27 of them have been given land free of cost and the remaining 13 were asked to pay.
Land allotted from 2003 onwards to various entities are located in areas like Mawdiangdiang, Diengiong, Umsawli Mawpat, Mawtari and Mawkasiang.
Entities like the education department received 120 acres of land for developing the campus of IIM Shillong. The land was allotted free of cost in October 2008 at Umsawli Mawpat.
However, public enterprise North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (Neepco) had to spend Rs 7.58 crore for land at Mawtari.
For developing Nagaland House, the Nagaland government had to pay Rs 5 lakh for a 2.27 acres plot of land at Diengiong while the Mizoram government was yet to pay for the 2-acre plot of land allotted to construct a Mizoram House at Mawkasiang.
The urban affairs department has been allotted 10 acres and 5 acres, free of cost, for constructing a housing complex and a shopping complex, respectively. These complexes have been identified for construction at Mawkasiang.
For the purpose of developing a football academy, the sports department has been given 80 acres, free of cost, at Mawdiangdiang.
Homeguards and civil defence department had to pay Rs 3.75 crore for a 15-acre plot of land at Mawdiangdiang while the department received an additional 10 acres plot of land, free of cost, at Mawdiangdiang itself.
Shillong International Centre for Performing Arts has also been allotted 34.85 acres at Mawkasiang. The land, which was provided free of cost, has not been handed over to the arts and culture department.
On land allotted to the Civil Service Officers’ Housing Cooperative Society Ltd, the RTI documents revealed that a plot of land of 45.01 acres was acquired by the government during 1992-1995.
The land at Mawpat was allotted to the society at a cost of Rs 19,60,636 in May 2009.
The amount paid by the government to the landowners for acquiring land was Rs 3 per square feet.
Pressure groups have been demanding that the government revert the land allotted to the society.
During the preparation of the Shillong Masterplan 1991-2011, it was observed that the holding capacity of the existing city had almost reached saturation level. Establishment of a new township became a necessity in order to make room for two lakh additional future citizens and prevent undesirable development in the already-congested city limits.
The masterplan envisaged setting up of the New Shillong township near Mawdiangdiang, covering an area of 20.3 square km within the Greater Shillong Masterplan area, the government had stated.
The estimated cost for infrastructure construction in the township is Rs 1,250 crore (at 2009-10 prices).
The government intends to acquire 62,84,153.05 square metres of land in Umsohlang-Umtung, Nongkharai-Synrem, Jongksih and Mawpdang and another 9,65,173.23 square metres in Wahskheh.