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Digha land protest

Patna, Aug. 30: Hundreds of landowners and residents in Rajiv Nagar-Digha today staged a protest against paying the housing board for regularisation of occupancy.

The dispute over 1024.52 acres in the area is on since 1974. On August 19, the cabinet approved the Digha Land Acquisition Settlement Rules and Scheme 2014, fixing the rate to settle the disputed lands.

The residents and landowners aren’t having any of it. Close to 200 people staged the mahadharna from 10am-4pm under the banner of Digha Krishi Bhumi-Awas Bachao Sangharsh Samiti and Rajiv Nagar Vyavsaik Nyas. Shops in Rajiv Nagar also remained closed in support of the strike.

The groups representing the occupants and landowners said they would not pay for resettlement and acquisition of the land by the Bihar State Housing Board.

Chandramunshi Singh, one of the founding members of the Digha group, said: “The settlement scheme and rules aim at regularising the occupancy of people who have already constructed houses but enforces acquisition of land from landowners who did not sell all these years. We do not want to give our land to the housing board even on payment of ex gratia. The government’s land acquisition process in the disputed area was never completed so we still own the land.”

Under the scheme’s provisions, the original landowners would be paid ex gratia against their land according to the existing minimum value register (MVR) rate applicable in the area. Land would also be settled in favour of unauthorised occupants after realising the settlement charge at the MVR rate within 90 days. At present, the MVR in the neighbouring areas is Rs 27 lakh.

The occupants are in no mood to pay for regularisation though. “We have already made payments to the original landowners at the time of buying land. Why should we again pay the Bihar State Housing Board,” said Birendra Kumar, president, Rajiv Nagar Vyavsaik Nyas.


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