Golaghat, Jan. 9: Nearly 400 villagers led by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti today staged a dharna in front of the deputy commissioner’s office here, protesting against the proposed four-lane highway by creating a bypass near Dadhora on National Highway 37 in Dergaon.
The villagers belong to 14 revenue villages under Dergaon revenue circle.
According to the protesters, the proposed bypass, which will be approximately 14km in length, will damage 600 bighas of cropland and have an adverse affect on livelihood of nearly 10,000 villagers who solely depend on agriculture. The proposed bypass will start from Dadhora and will connect with the highway at Balijan.
“We have thwarted three attempts of survey to be conducted by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in the area and we will not let any survey to be conducted at any cost. There is no logic in diverting the proposed highway to safeguard 150 shops and business establishments of Dergaon town as there will be ample space available to relocate them even after completion of the four-lane highway,” Padma Lochan Nath, president of the KMSS’s Golaghat district committee, said.
“We urged the government to immediately restart the survey of the present highway that passes through Dergaon town within a period of one month for the proposed four-lane highway and drop the idea of creating a bypass or else we would have no options other than to intensify our agitation,” Nath added.
A raij mel (public meeting) has also been called by the KMSS on January 28 where the villagers of all the 14 revenue villages will be present. The organisers have also invited representatives of the district administration to the meeting.
On the other hand, Pradip Khadaria, president of Dergaon Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the only traders’ body of town representing 170 members, while talking to The Telegraph, said they want this proposed four-lane highway bypass issue to be resolved at the earliest because for the last five years, not a single bank has provided any loan to the traders nor the Dergaon Municipal Board has given any permission for setting up new trade concerns. This has adversely affected business activities in the town.
“We have even submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner to urge the NHAI to build a flyover in Dergaon so that minimum damage is caused and we have no objection if the proposed four-lane highway passes through Dergaon,” Khadaria said.
Later, when the circle officer of Golaghat, N.A. Ali, arrived at the scene, the dharna was called off and the agitators handed over a memorandum to be forwarded to the deputy commissioner and higher authority of the NHAI.